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Sunday, May 26, 2024
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School, parish, family, friends, sport: how Sydney’s top Catholic students do it all

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Jacinta Walz receives her award from Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Jacinta Walz receives her award from Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP. Photo: Giovanni Portelli


Finding and maintaining a balance between school, extracurricular activities, parish life, family time and social life is a difficult task, but having a strong support network, at home and in the parish, has provided immeasurable support.

My goal this year was to maintain an active participation in the community.

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One of my primary sources of motivation throughout the year has been my family. We have always been active members of the parish and this has influenced many of my decisions in terms of school and parish related activities.

Making a commitment to a regular activity has also provided me with structure and motivation.

I have attended my parish youth group for the last six years and been a junior leader whilst completing Years 11 and 12.

Bethany College, Hurstville, student and Archbishop's Award for Excellence recipient Jacinta Walz
Jacinta Walz

This time is both fulfilling and enjoyable and so serves as a major source of motivation in my extracurricular involvement in the community.

It is difficult to have the motivation to maintain additional commitments during the final years of school but I believe that having a strong foundation and enjoying the experience has been the driving force behind my participation this year.

As students, we have so many different facets to our lives, it can be difficult to prioritise.

Sacrifices had to be made, of course, when it came to socialising with friends.

As much as I would have liked to go shopping every weekend, time needed to be set aside for schoolwork, rest and family time.

By combining different aspects of my life I was able to achieve a balance.

Youth group became a main social outlet for me throughout the year and allowed me the opportunity to immerse myself in parish life at the same time.

I became an Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist in my parish and was able to undertake this role in college liturgies. As a result I was appointed the liturgy prefect for 2016.

Through this, and my volunteer work as the vice-president of Bethany College’s Vinnies conference, I was able to combine my parish work with my school life.

Balancing schoolwork in among extracurricular activities was difficult at times, especially during exam and assessment periods.

My most effective method of balancing schoolwork was using my school time to my advantage.

I always focused and worked hard during class in order to minimise my homework and I used my in-school study periods as much as I could to ensure I stayed on top of my work.

I’m incredibly honoured to have been nominated for the Archbishop’s Award for Student Excellence.

I am grateful to my family, my parish of St Declan’s, Penshurst, and Bethany College, Hurstville, for providing me with such a supportive environment that allowed me to take full advantage of the opportunities offered to me.

Next year, I aim to study a science and mathematics university degree while continuing my involvement in parish life.

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