Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) students have received a hat-trick of NSW Youth Community Service Awards for the second year in a row.

Three SCS students were among only 26 in the state presented with the 2023 awards, which recognise exceptional community service by a Year 11 or 12 student, in honour of their mentoring, volunteer and advocacy efforts.

The awards are held annually by the NSW Branch of the Order of Australia Association and were presented by Governor of NSW Margaret Beazley at Government House on 7 September.

Asteer Salem from Mary MacKillop Catholic College Wakeley, Erica Chau from Freeman Catholic College Bonnyrigg Heights, and Archibald (Archie) Kingham from Marist College Eastwood were acknowledged at the ceremony with a certificate and medal.

Asteer gave the vote of thanks at the end of the ceremony.

Archie, in Year 11, said he felt humbled to receive the award.

“There were some incredible candidates with superb contributions to their community,” he said. “I believe that everyone has a duty to support others less fortunate than themselves.”

“The greater the privilege and opportunity we have the more reflective and supportive we should be.”  – Archie Kingham

Marist College Eastwood Principal Silvana Rossetti said all three students were a credit to their schools and the communities they served. She said Archibald lived the Marist characteristics of presence, family spirit, and love of work each day.

I am extremely proud of Archie who shows genuine concern for the wellbeing of others,” she said.

“This is exemplified by his involvement in organisations both in and out of school that have as their core value the wellbeing of those less fortunate.”

The Awardees

Aster Saleem, Mary MacKillop Catholic College Wakeley

Asteer’s award recognises volunteer efforts which include tutoring students with autism, shopping for the elderly and vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic, awareness campaigns for environmental conservation, and fundraising for disadvantaged communities in India, Papua New Guinea and Kenya.

Asteer also actively contributed to creating safe homes for refugees through the Josephite Action Group, a community of young people who work with the Sisters of Saint Joseph for a more compassionate and just society.

Archibald Kingham – Marist College Eastwood

Archie’s award recognises his involvement in the Northern Suburbs Football Association and Scouting Australia. He is Normanhurst Scouts’ treasurer and a mentor to the next generation of young scout leaders. Archie has volunteered at Hornsby RSL and organised multiple fundraising initiatives. A lifeline volunteer, Archie is a strong advocate for positive mental health, particularly among young people.

Erica Chau – Freeman Catholic College Bonnyrigg Heights 

Erica’s award recognises her volunteer and fundraising efforts for charities including SaveAFox Rescue, which rescues and finds homes for captive-born animals that cannot be released into the wild. She also supports Share the Dignity, the Leukaemia Foundation and the White Ribbon Foundation, and is a volunteer mentor with the Big Sister Program.