The awards, presented in collaboration with, and following an initiative of, the Federation of Parents & Friends Association, seek to recognise publicly the efforts of students and young people within the diocese who have contributed to the community through their parish, church group or church agency. This may include involvement in groups or agencies such as Caritas, Youth Ministries, St Vincent de Paul Society, Mini Vinnies or similar groups.
Lachlan Byrnes, from St Pius X, Adamstown (pictured), was recognised for his outstanding contribution to the life of his parish and school community. Lachlan developed a program to support the welcoming and training of altar servers including the organisation of rosters and training materials, and is developing an app to enhance training further. Lachlan has also supported the development of initiatives to encourage involvement of young people in his parish. He is a member of his school’s St Vincent de Paul team and a recipient of the Diamond Award at his school for community and parish work.
Lachlan joined four other students receiving a Catholic Schools Student’s Award,includingRebekah Leslie (St Paul’s, Booragul), Elijah Doherty (St Clare’s, Taree), Clare Melville (SPX, Adamstown) and Johanna Soo (San Clemente, Mayfield).
A new category, the Catholic Young People Bishop’s Award, was open to young people from Year 12 up to age 25. Samantha Hill received this award for her involvement in the youth movement with many parishes in the Chisholm (Maitland) region. Sam was also recognised for her work with the Diocesan Council for Youth Ministry and her contribution to the organisation of the 2015 Australian Catholic Youth Festival, Maitland-Newcastle contingent.