Zara and Anna awarded by the Governor-General
On 4 June, the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), held a virtual presentation ceremony to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of two of our incredible young leaders, Zara Dempsey (Year 7) and Anna Myers (Year 5). Zara and Anna were each presented with the award of Outstanding Individual as part of the SchoolAid National Awards program, which showcases and acknowledges outstanding individual and school-based philanthropic campaigns across Australia.
Zara has spent the last few years focused on raising awareness and support to improve the literacy of students in Australia’s remote Indigenous communities. In 2018, she researched and contacted Gunbalanya Community School in West Arnhem Land to seek their willingness to establish a connection with Ascham School. Zara then set up a campaign to raise funds through activities at school and has since continued to promote and fundraise for Gunbalanya Community School. To date, she has raised enough funds to replenish their library with books exceeding $6,000 in value (with the support of Dymocks Children’s Charities) and also to enable them to engage a ‘Library Grandma’ to care for the books and share them with their students. Zara’s fundraising has also provided the funds needed for Gunbalanya Community School to publish a book that their students wrote in collaboration with a famed Australian author. Zara hopes to continue to raise awareness in the wider Ascham School community and support remote Indigenous communities in years to come.
Anna’s work began in 2017 when she initiated her campaign to collect second-hand books from local schools in Sydney to donate to schools and hospitals in Western Fiji. Anna was motivated to support Lautoka Central Primary School after attending school there while her parents volunteered at Lautoka Hospital. She noticed there were very few books for the children to read at the school, as well as in the waiting rooms of the hospital. Anna commenced her campaign by speaking to fellow students at assemblies and seeking donations of second-hand books. She then collected art supplies for art lessons she planned to teach on her next visit. Following overwhelming support from the wider Ascham School community, Anna then arranged shipment of the books and supplies. When next in Fiji, Anna visited schools in the area and the Lautoka Hospital to deliver the books personally. Anna also used the art supplies to deliver free art lessons for over 30 children from Viseisei Village. Anna is excitedly planning the next round of donations and art activities for her next visit.
Congratulations, Zara and Anna, for your outstanding and truly inspiring work!