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Rostrevor student recognised for compassion and respect

Schools

Promoting empathy and respect for older Australians has earned Rostrevor College student Nathan McCarthy a Student Citizenship Award from the Order of Australia Association.

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The award recognises young people who contribute broadly to school and general communities, and build pride in Australian citizenship.

Nathan, who is the college’s Social Justice prefect for 2019, was instrumental in the success of the ‘My Memoirs’ program, which paired aged care residents with student biographers. The young authors conducted interviews over 10 weeks and presented their elderly subjects with a book of their life stories.

The connection made between Nathan and 102-year-old Florence Wheeler, who has since died, was particularly poignant given that she had no close living relatives. Their bond captured the interest of the nation’s media, as well as the hearts of many people involved in the initiative.

The award, signed by the Governor of SA His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, states that through his participation in the program Nathan demonstrated ‘empathy, compassion, respect and a value for the elderly citizens in our community’.

Chairman of the SA branch of the Order of Australia Association, Ken Coventry OAM, said the awards were not for sporting or academic achievements but intended to recognise young people who contributed more broadly to society.

“They exemplify the association’s objective to foster love of and pride in Australian citizenship,” he said.

Rostrevor principal Brian Schumacher said Nathan was an outstanding example of a young person building relationships with the elderly members of the community.

“His contribution to the program gave a voice to an elderly person who had no children and few relatives,” Mr Schumacher said.

“He presented Florence’s story to the world so that the quiet everyday achievements that helped build our communities are not forgotten.”

Nathan, who is from Padthaway in the South East and a boarder at the college, said receiving the award was “a great honour”.

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