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Award recognises service beyond the classroom


Talented scholar and musician Archer Newton ended his secondary schooling on a high note after being named one of the 26 recipients of the 2019 Governor of SA Commendation Excellence Awards.

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Nine students from Catholic schools were presented with the prestigious award at a ceremony at Government House held on February 4. The award acknowledges students for their excellence in Year 12 SACE subjects as well as the ‘qualities young people need for community life, citizenship and work’.

Archer, who was joint dux of Rostrevor College, achieved merits in English, psychology, physics and the research project. He was part of the University of Adelaide’s Headstart Program and studied computer science at that campus.

A talented guitarist, percussionist and pianist, Archer hopes to study medicine.

Hillary Thursby from St Mary’s College achieved merits in the research project and ancient studies. As the school’s Justice captain she organised many events including Live Below the Line, Project Compassion, International Women’s Week, Winter Appeal, Vinnies Sleepout, Harmony Week, St Dominic’s Week, Justice Day, Vinnies on Parade, World Environment Week and Shoe Boxes of Love.

Loreto College’s Georgia Williams dedicated much of her time in Year 12 to helping others. She supported the Little Heroes Foundation and Still Aware, an organisation that raises awareness and money for research into stillbirths. Fundraising events Georgia organised included a regular market stall at Stirling, weekly raffles, selling baked goods and holding a bonfire night. Georgia also hosted a crazy hair day where she had her head shaved and donated her locks to help make wigs for children with cancer.

Other Commendation recipients from Catholic schools were:

Chloe Futcher, Tenison Woods College, who achieved merits in biology, English and research project. She mentored younger students as part of the Learning Assistance Program and for the past two years was an after-school tutor for Year 11 students in maths and science. Chloe was the school’s wellbeing leader and ran charity events.

Lachlan Gwynne, St Michael’s College, was involved in a motor racing accident during a speedway event in Mildura in April last year. Despite suffering severe back and ankle injuries, the school leader showed great resilience, keeping up with his school work and achieving outstanding results.

Jack Kelton, Sacred Heart College, was recognised for his community involvement as junior captain of the Glenelg Surf Life Saving Club. At school he excelled in maths and helped other students. Jack and two of his friends set up a profitable small business, designing and manufacturing products on his 3D printer. He volunteers with his grandparents at Vinnies.

Sophie Meynell, Cardijn College, was college captain and involved in a range of voluntary initiatives, including being a member of the Young Christian Students Group which helps those in need in the community. Sophie was the only female member in the F1 in Schools team which won State and national titles, and she is a passionate advocate for STEM. She also led the local soup kitchen, as well as supporting Fred’s Van.

Maya Murali, St Aloysius College, achieved merits in biology and English and was involved in instigating a sponsorship process across the Year 12 cohort to support a child at the School of St Jude in Tanzania.

Ella Thorne, Xavier College, achieved merits in psychology and the research project and is an accomplished sportswoman. For the past 10 years she has played netball for Mallala, winning best and fairest and volunteering in the roles of scoring, timing, umpiring and fundraising.


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