Sam Bible, O'Connor Catholic College's vice-school captain, has a passion for the law.
He was one of 100 students from across the state to attend the NSW Schools Constitutional Convention in Sydney on Monday, part of a national program for Year 11 students.
"You learn a lot about how the Constitution shapes our human rights, and interacts with our daily lives," Sam said. "You come away with a deeper understanding of the law from different perspectives."
The convention was held at the NSW Parliament House. Participants debated constitutional issues; met the University of Sydney's expert in constitutional law and reform, Professor Anne Twomey; and held a mock plenary session in the Legislative Assembly Chamber.
Aspects of the Constitution, Sam said, are quite old-fashioned. It does, after all, date back to 1900 - but much of it cannot be changed without changing the Australian legal and political system.
"The Constitution," Sam said, "is complex, and not easy to change - but being able to do something about it would be pretty cool."
While a referendum is the main way to alter the Constitution, the High Court can reinterpret laws, judges can create common law by their verdicts, and Commonwealth and state legislation can be altered.
These affect issues like the Commonwealth's power over the states; water; or the recognition of Aboriginal people - a human rights issue Sam feels strongly about, and wrote about it for his nomination.
Under section 25 of the Constitution, all persons of any race can be disqualified under state laws from voting in state elections, and not counted in state surveys.
"If I'm the premier of NSW, and I decide no Aboriginal people can vote, I can do it," Sam said. "That goes into census data, so all the premiers could team up and say they don't want Aboriginal people included - even though there are hundreds of thousands of them."
That could, in turn, mean fewer MPs from each state, since electorates are based on population size.
When he graduates, Sam intends to study law or politics - but probably not constitutional law.
"Constitutional law is quite heavy and dry; it's nitty-gritty and difficult," he said. "I'd want to pursue a different field, such as business, economic, or criminal law."
Principal Regina Menz said the convention was a fantastic opportunity for Sam.
"It's really exciting that he was selected to attend," she said. "He's very interested in legal and business studies and that whole area of parliament. It'll be a wonderful experience for him, and he can share his learning with his peers."
Sam recommends that students excelling in legal studies, political science, or English think of attending next year's convention.