The Year 12 students who received an Archbishop’s Award for Student Excellence this year are no strangers to the power of faith and action.

Each year, the awards acknowledge the commitment to their faith, academic life, community and social justice of one student from each of 50 secondary schools in the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney. 

The 2021 awards were presented during a live video conference for the students, their parents and principals on Friday 3 September.

In his address to the awardees, Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher OP encouraged attendees to “fight for what really matters in life, with the weapons of faith, hope and love.”

“As a Church and society one of our best weapons is our young people, and today we recognise our top guns” – Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP

His Grace drew on the example of reluctant Pope Saint Gregory the Great, known for his humility and determination, and depression era novelist, Raymond Chandler, to ask students to consider what tools and traits they used to make the world a better place.

“We all slip into habits to get our point across and influence things,” he said. 

“This may be our looks or the looks we give others; our thinking and how we articulate this to others; our emotions and how demonstrative we are about them; our physical presence.

“Most of us use one or two of these and leave the others to gather dust. 

“As a Church and society one of our best weapons is our young people, and today we recognise our top guns.”

Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools, Tony Farley, praised the awardees for their courage and determination to be part of a bigger world and to seek the truth.

“The world needs people who are prepared to stand up and  do what’s right: to at times be counter cultural and not just go with what so many others say or do,” he told students.

“To receive an award today you’ve sometimes taken the road less travelled, and resolved to see the joy and strength in serving others” – Tony Farley


Meet some of the Archbishop’s Awards recipients, whose faith and determination to make a difference was acknowledged at this year’s ceremony.