Standing up for Canberra

Legends accolades for special battlers

The lead up to Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year.

And one of the highlights is acknowledging the success of Canberra’s quiet achievers through my School Legends program.

I’m living proof of the transformative powers of education so I spend as much time as I can visiting our schools to learn about the great work being done by Canberra’s educators.

And during those visits I noticed there were plenty of awards for students who got straight As or exceled in sport – which is terrific. But there was a gap in the market for awards to students who overcame physical and personal challenges and adversity, yet still achieved their goals. So, School Legends was born.

The students are nominated by their school, and the awards send a strong message that their school community is watching out for them, knows what they are going through and that it supports them and loves them.

So far I’ve presented awards to exceptional students at Richardson Primary and Malkara School. And I’ll be acknowledging many more between now and the end of the school year.

The legends are all extraordinary young people who show resilience, courage and a strength of character beyond their years.

And feedback from parents, teachers and carers suggests the program has made a big difference to boosting self-esteem and confidence in these brave young people.

Thank you to everyone who has been involved in this year’s program.

Thank you also to my team – John, Madeleine, Jill, Alicia and Claire – for your support and hard work this year.

2014 has been a tough year for Canberra, but we know we live in the best place in the world, with a strong and supportive community – the OECD has confirmed it!

I wish you and your family a safe and happy Christmas and New Year. I look forward to working and advocating for you in 2015.