Archbishop’s Awards for Student Excellence

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Sydney’s best and brightest met with the Archbishop of Sydney under unusual circumstances on Friday 4 September.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP  joined with Sydney Catholic Schools Executive Director Tony Farley and 50 of Sydney’s top year 12 students via Zoom to celebrate the annual Archbishop’s Awards for Student Excellence.

“For the rest of your life people will remember 2020 as the Year of the Virus,” Archbishop Fisher said.

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP  Photo: CNS, Simon Caldwell

“Everything we expected around education, economy, social life, and worship has been disrupted.”

Though the event was held under less than ideal conditions, the Archbishop made it clear that the achievements of these students under testing circumstances was by no means ordinary.

”I want to insist that the restrictions forced on us by the Year of the Virus do not sum up the Class of 2020,” he said.

“I know very well the positive contributions each of you has been making to your school and the larger community, not just this year but for some years now, giving witness to Christ and bringing credit to your school and Church.

“And this, doubtless, is your continuing aspiration, however much COVID has cramped your style.”

“I know very well the positive contributions each of you has been making to your school and larger community, not just this year but for some years now, giving witness to Christ and bringing credit to your school and Church.”

Archbishop Fisher then congratulated students for the range and scale of the services for whic they were being honoured and challenged them to maintain that impetus.

“Your award today acknowledges how each of you has participated in global, national or local Catholic youth festivals, retreats, and immersions,” he said.

“[You have] raised funds for great causes, been regular at Mass and devotions, and assisted through altar serving, ministering Holy Communion, reading or music.

“[You have] been a state school catechist, taken part in social justice initiatives or voluntary work with children, youth, the elderly, poor, homeless, disabled, Indigenous or refugees; assisted mental health organisations or the disadvantaged overseas; or contributed to the care of creation.

“The passion you have demonstrated for your God is one you are challenged now to extend beyond your school days to new worlds.”

“The passion you have demonstrated for your God is one you are challenged now to extend beyond your school days to new worlds.”

SCS Executive Director Tony Farley urged award recipients to cultivate a personal spiritual relationship with Jesus as the basis of everything they do in life.

Rebecca Apap and Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP at the 2019 Archbishop Awards for Student Excellence. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

“I encourage each award recipient to embrace this next phase of their lives, knowing that a close and ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ is truly life-giving,” he said.

“That prayer sustains and helps us grow always and that a life of service and faith is rewarding and liberating.”

They are, he said, remarkable ambassadors of Catholic youth in the Archdiocese of Sydney communities.

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