Three Sydney Catholic Schools students have been recognised for their exceptional community service in the 2022 NSW Youth Community Service Awards.

Kardina Batti, Aimee Blackmore and Neethu Siril were among 26 recipients from across NSW recognised at a ceremony at Government House on Friday, 2 September.

Recipients of the 2022 Youth Community Service Award

Recipients of the 2022 Youth Community Service Award.

The students from Mary MacKillop Catholic College Wakeley, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College Kensington and Freeman Catholic College Bonnyrigg Heights, respectively, were presented with a trophy and certificate of commendation by The Honourable Andrew Bell, Chief Justice of the NSW Supreme Court.

“None of the students sought recognition for their actions, but we honour them with the highest recognition available to NSW high school students” – Order of Australia Association NSW Branch Chairman, Jim Mein AM

Gilda Pussich, Principal of Mary MacKillop Catholic College Wakeley, praised Kardina’s pure, generous nature.

“Mary MacKillop once said ‘Let us try to keep God with us by charity of thought, word and act’. Kardina, who is a caring, compassionate and selfless young woman, lives by these words,” Ms Pussich said.

A modest Kardina said: “This award isn’t only mine, it is for all of us because if my loved ones and those in need were not here, who would I have done all of this for?”

“I work on improving our community in most of my free times” Kardina Batti

About the Award

The annual award of the Order of Australia Association (NSW) Branch is given to students across NSW who are exemplary community role models.

Principals from 1,017 secondary schools nominated one Year 11 or 12 student each for the Youth Community Service Award in 2022, with the judging panel comprising three Medal of the Order of Australia recipients.

Order of Australia Association NSW Branch Chairman, Jim Mein AM, congratulated the students on their service.

“These students are recognised today for their selfless volunteering to a wide range of organisations and for many years worthy causes while busily preparing for their Higher School Certificates,” Mr Mein said.

“They have contributed beyond the norm [and] are a beacon of inspiration for others to follow.”

Following in Don Bosco’s footsteps

Kardina has supported many groups including Save the Children in Lebanon, Insan Association in Lebanon, Sisters of St Joseph in Australia, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation and Salesians of St Don Bosco. She is also active in her parish.

“I have worked with many schools overseas to help the refugees, such as myself, and kids to gain knowledge and education although the situations we went through were not easy,” Kardina said.

Sydney Catholic Schools' student Kardina Batti receives an award from The Honourable Andrew Bell, The Chief Justice of NSW

Kardina receiving her award from the Chief Justice of NSW. Photo courtesy of The Order of Australia Association NSW.

She also volunteers to help on special occasions. For example, for Mother’s Day, she helped make beautiful cards. “We wrote kind words and went on a walk to give them to the mothers we met,” she said.

Asked about her road to volunteering, she said it all started when she was young.

“I used to attend Don Bosco and Salesians activities,” Kardina explained. “I was inspired by all the teachers and the priest who showed us the real meaning of love and service.”

“Saint Don Bosco once said ‘Do good while you still have time’. This quote will forever live in my heart and mind and remind me to keep doing the good deeds” – Kardina Batti

“I always wanted to be one of those who give their hands to others in order to be better,” Kardina added.

“When volunteering, I meet so many people who have nothing but a precious smile and a heart of gold.

“These people show me how blessed and grateful I should be, and I see the real meaning of Christianity in them.”