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Spirit of Anzac Prize an extreme honour

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23 April 2024

By Devansh Attrey, Year 12, Caroline Chisholm Catholic College, Braybrook

The opportunity to enter the Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize was brought to me and my friends by a teacher of mine, who had also been my Learner Mentor in Year 10. He had been an outstanding, supportive teacher who had always encouraged his pupils to try out new things and to strive to be a better person tomorrow.

Devansh and his mother with Sarah Connolly MP at Parliament House
Devansh and his mother with Sarah Connolly MP at Parliament House

My teacher introduced my friends and me to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to T├╝rkiye on a study tour funded by the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing. With a huge smile, he told us that we were the perfect candidates to apply for the Spirit of Anzac Prize, as we were all in cadets and we had displayed our respect to participate in the Anzac Day commemoration at school last year. At the time, we gave each other a look of confusion and interest, agreeing to take the opportunity and give it our best shot.

My submission to the Spirit of Anzac Prize was an essay answering the question – how has the Anzac spirit intertwined with a multicultural and diverse Australia? I had learnt, through my own research, that the Anzac spirit had never died out for any period. It has been present in our day-to-day life since the beginning of WWI and its values were not diminished, but thrived with the sacrifices made by our brave men and women during wartime. The Anzac spirit is not exclusive to a particular group, but it encompasses all who call this country home.

When I received an email explaining I had been selected as one of the prize winners, I was completely taken by surprise. I had not expected to be given the chance to take on this amazing opportunity to go to T├╝rkiye, to expand my knowledge and learn new things with a new bunch of friends.

I celebrated by sharing the news with my family, first and foremost, then I shared the exciting news with the teacher that had provided me with the opportunity and all the teachers that assisted in endorsing my application.

I had the honour of attending an award ceremony in the presence of important individuals of the Victorian Government and the Shrine of Remembrance at Parliament House in ░─├┼┴¨║¤▓╩app.

My guests included my mother and the teacher that introduced me to the award. We were given framed certificates and shook hands with Shrine Governor Mohammed Abdur Rahman, as well as the Premier of Victoria, the Hon Jacinta Allan, and the Minister for Veterans, the Hon Natalie Suleyman.

This was one extreme honour to be awarded and handed the certificate of my achievement by important heads of the government, as well as shake hands and take photos alongside them with my fellow award recipients.

The study trip to T├╝rkiye will be in July this year, and we will visit many historic sites to gain insight of Australia’s peacekeeping and war history. The main thing I am hoping to learn in further depth from this trip is how Australia was involved in encouraging and establishing peace in wartime, along with my new group of friends.

Entries for this year’s close on Monday 29 April 2024.

Image source: Caroline Chisholm Catholic College