Padthaway local Nathan McCarthy has been recognised by The Order of Australia Association for contributing to the increased empathy and respect for older Australians.
The Student Citizenship Award recognises young people who contribute broadly to school and general communities and build pride in Australian citizenship.
The award caps off an impressive year for the Year 11 student, who has an average grade of 90 per cent, and was recently named Social Justice Prefect for 2019 for Rostrevor College – a school of 750.
Nathan, who is the son of Padthaway graziers Simon and Tara McCarthy, contributed to the success of the globally-recognised My Memoirs program, which paired aged care residents with secondary students tasked with compiling and preserving 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. The bond between the two 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, states that during his participation in the program “Nathan demonstrated empathy, compassion, respect and a value for the elderly citizens in our community”.
The chairman of the SA branch of the Order of Australian Association, Ken Coventry OAM, said the awards were not for academic or sporting achievements but were intended to recognise those 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 who was committed to building relationships with the elderly members of our 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 help build our communities are not forgotten.”
Nathan, who heads to India later this month as a selected college representative on a cultural visit to the country, said the award was “a great honour”.