Passion for community pays off

NARACOORTE'S Courtney Higgs is passionate about her community.

The 17-year-old is this Australia Day's young citizen of the year and was recognised at the local ceremony.

"I was very surprised," Courtney said. "I don't really know why I got it. I do lots of stuff in the community I guess and volunteer for a few clubs and organisations."

Courtney has been part of the Naracoorte Calisthenics Club for about 10 years, performing and recently taking on a role helping the coaches.

This year she will become a level one coach and be responsible for two teams.

Courtney claimed the title of Lions Youth of the Year in 2013 - a public speaking competition involving two impromptu speeches and one prepared speech.

She competed against three of her Naracoorte High School peers and one of her topics was about why she enjoys country life.

She has also been part of the Naracoorte Show Society for 12 months but has been competing in local shows since she was five.

"I compete in the horses, cattle, junior judging and indoor exhibits," she said.

"I organised ABC radio to broadcast last year and was announced the 2014 Naracoorte Young Rural Ambassador for which I'll go on to the regional and hopefully State finals.

"I'm pretty passionate about it all. I would love to see more youth getting involved and more people in the community getting involved."

Courtney moved to Naracoorte from a small city in New South Wales when she was aged five.

"I like rural living," she said. "I love horse riding, being with animals and with my friends."

She graduated from high school in 2013 and is currently taking a gap year.

"I'm enrolled in animal behaviour at Flinders University which I will start in 2015," she said.

"This year I will be studying a Certificate Four in Veterinary Nursing and saving money. Someday I want to open up a wildlife park - maybe around this area or somewhere else."

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