Eight Year 12 students from across the Diocese of Wollongong have been celebrated at this year’s Bishop's Student Excellence Awards for their outstanding schooling achievements and contributions – praised for exemplifying the best of Catholic education in a young adult about to graduate from school.
An official and esteemed event in the annual Diocesan calendar, the Bishop's Student Excellence Awards recognise the religious, academic and community-based accomplishments of a Year 12 student from each of the Catholic systemic secondary schools in the diocese, as nominated by their principal.
This year’s awards were presented to students by Bishop Brian Mascord at a special afternoon ceremony at the Villa D’Oro Function Centre in Wollongong this week.
In the presence of excited family members, school staff and principals, as well as senior Catholic Education Office personnel, the award recipients were individually acknowledged for their character and contribution to their school, parish and local community.
The students were recognised for a range of acts and achievements – for being active participants in school life and positive, compassionate role models; dedicated students excelling in their studies and social justice pursuits; and proud leaders and representatives of their schools, committed to service and highly regarded by staff and students alike.
CEDoW Director of Schools, Peter Turner, acknowledged the young adults gathered – both as leaders of today and, importantly, of the future. He praised the students’ strong sense of social justice, outreach and fairness, telling them it was a sincere privilege to be sharing this moment with them and their families. He said, like their family members, he and all those present were very proud of them.
“You have embraced the opportunities provided to you through the gift of a Catholic education. You have grown and developed values, attitudes, skills and knowledge that will benefit you, and more importantly, be of benefit to others. I urge you to remain focused on those values most clearly seen in the example of the person of Jesus Christ, and know that authentic leadership and ‘difference-making’ is found in the service of others” — Peter Turner, CEDoW Director of Schools
Mr Turner also acknowledged the wonderful support the students have received from their families, evident by the many mums and dads, carers, brothers, sisters, grandparents and other family members gathered to share in this celebration.
“The love, nurturing, guidance and support you have given to your sons and daughters over their years at school is very much at the heart of this gathering” he told the parents present.
Bishop Brian echoed Mr Turner’s sentiments. “The people who sit around you today are saying to you, ‘we believe in you; we acknowledge you; we celebrate you; we encourage you to think beyond the small box and really step out in faith to try and do something different that will make a difference’.”
The Bishop congratulated the students and encouraged them to “believe in the possibilities of what can happen and believe in [themselves].”
“You have made a difference. You have been a light for the world in your place in our diocese… and most of you probably didn’t even realise you were doing it. So today I say congratulations, and most of all, I say thank you. But don’t let it stop here – take everything you’ve been given [in your Catholic education] and continue to make a difference out there” — Bishop Brian Mascord
BROOKE SMITH – St Joseph's Catholic High School, Albion Park
Press the 'play' button below to hear Brooke's citation read aloud at the ceremony by St Joseph's principal, Amanda Wilson.
ELLEN VERA – Holy Spirit College, Bellambi
Press the 'play' button below to hear Ellen's citation read aloud at the ceremony by Holy Spirit principal, Chris Agnew.
LAUREN DADY – Magdalene Catholic College, Narellan
Press the 'play' button below to hear Lauren's citation read aloud at the ceremony by Magdalene principal, Matthew McMahon.
LACHLAN KASZONYI – St John the Evangelist Catholic High School, Nowra
Press the 'play' button below to hear Lachlan's citation read aloud at the ceremony by St John's principal, Sandra Hogan.
AVA RIDDELL – Corpus Christi Catholic High School, Oak Flats
Press the 'play' button below to hear Ava's citation read aloud at the ceremony by CEDoW Head of School Improvement Services – Secondary, John Lo Cascio.
CLAUDE ABDALLAH – St Benedict's Catholic College, Oran Park
Press the 'play' button below to hear Claude's citation read aloud at the ceremony by St Benedict's principal, Michael Hanratty.
LARISSA KOURA – John Therry Catholic High School, Rosemeadow
Press the 'play' button below to hear Larissa's citation read aloud at the ceremony by John Therry principal, Wayne Marshall.
BRITNEY RUIZ MANNS – Mount Carmel Catholic College, Varroville
Press the 'play' button below to hear Britney's citation read aloud at the ceremony by Mount Carmel principal, Stephen Lo Cascio.
Listen to a playlist of all eight students' citations here
The awardees each received a framed certificate, a book selected by the Bishop and a small gift. Congratulations students – all very worthy recipients of this prestigious recognition!
The Bishop's Student Excellence Awards are a Diocesan-wide celebration of the personal and community achievements of young people graduating from our Catholic schools. For more information about these awards and our CEDoW Awards and Recognition Program, visit our Lighting the Way Faith & Learning Awards and Recognition page.