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A St Joseph’s College student has been awarded the prestigious annual Premier’s Anzac Prize.
Year 9 student Sarah Ellis is one of 8 students in Queensland to be awarded the prize which gives them a chance to visit London, France, and Belgium in April next year.
For the prize, Sarah researched and created a speech and multimodal presentation on top of her normal studies last term.
Sarah said she was shocked when she found out she had won.
“I get to go on this amazing trip, meet know people who have similar interests, and learn a tonne of new stuff – I can’t wait,” Sarah said.
As she researched her presentation, Sarah discovered an even deeper personal connection to the project.
“I had never really thought that any of my family were involved in the wars but then, in undertaking this prize, I found out about my Great-Great-Uncle Bill who we think served at Gallipoli,” she said.
“There were also a couple of relatives on my mum’s side who also served. I never knew they existed, and this project led me to them.”
According to the some details Sarah recover about her Great Great Uncle William ‘Bill’ Pinfold, he lost both his legs during World War 1, but survived to take up a career has a cobbler.
Sarah said she had never heard of the prize until her Humanities teacher sent her the information.
“Ms Whiting, was a big factor in my entering. She emailed me, and a couple of other students, and suggested that I apply for it.
She arranged for me to go out during Humanities lessons and for me to do the project as assessment instead of the exam so I could really focus on it. It was a lot of work, but it was enjoyable because I really like history,” she said.
St Joseph’s College Humanities teacher Emily Whiting said she was so proud of Sarah for the work and dedication she has shown for the project.
“It’s wonderful to see students strive for excellence, and have those efforts rewarded and recognised,” Ms Whiting said.
“I think this trip will open up so many new opportunities and pathways for her.
She will get to travel to places that we’ve spoken about in class, and that will be such a life-changing experience.”
Her father, David Ellis, said when Sarah told him she had won on the drive home from school, he pulled over to give her a hug.
“I was absolutely blown away when Sarah told me, I just couldn’t believe it,” Mr Ellis said.
“I’m just so proud of Sarah. She’s worked so hard for this and it’s so well deserved.
She’s very modest but there was a lot of hard done by Sarah behind the scenes, with very little help from either myself or her mum.”
The annual Premier’s Anzac Prize provides a life-changing opportunity for 8 high school students to engage with the Anzac tradition first-hand and explore how the Anzac legacy relates to modern Australian life.
Sarah will also take part in a community engagement and fundraising project before her trip in April.