Jake Ryan’s ‘great strength of character’

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Cardinal Pell presents an Archbishop's Award for Student Excellence to Jake Ryan of St Mary's Cathedral College.
Cardinal Pell presents an Archbishop’s Award for Student Excellence to Jake Ryan.

The recent Archbishop’s Awards for Student Excellence were made possible by the combined efforts of staff from Sydney Catholic Schools and the Archdiocese of Sydney. A key contributor to the overall planning and success of the day was Jake Ryan, events co-ordinator for the archdiocese.

Returning to his former school, St Mary’s Cathedral College, the awards hold a particular significance for Jake, who received this honour in 2008.

When presented to Cardinal George Pell at the time, the citation read:

Jacob is a student of exceptional generosity and good will.

His integrity and school spirit were recognised when he was named a school prefect.

When in Year 7 Jacob faced the challenge of the loss of his mother to an unexpected brain haemorrhage, displaying strength of character and resilience.

He exhibited fine leadership as the school’s World Youth Day representative, encouraging a high level of participation.

Jacob is also an accomplished musician, singing at numerous school and public functions. He is a young man in whom the college is justifiably proud.

At last week’s ceremony Jake reflected “it was great to see students being recognised not for academic excellence, but for the contribution they have made to their communities”.

Jake noted that he has now come “full circle” in his role helping to facilitate the awards for the archdiocese, promoting positive leadership qualities among new award recipients.

“The key,” he points out, “is not to see the award as a prize, but as an encouragement to do even greater things for your community.”

In giving advice to recipients, Jake said: “Keep going, you never know who it is that you might be inspiring.”

Related: School, parish, family, friends, sport: how Sydney’s top Catholic students do it all