Oliva Eriksen was awarded the 2021 South Burnett junior citizen of the year. Photo/Contributed
Oliva Eriksen was awarded the 2021 South Burnett junior citizen of the year. Photo/Contributed

Junior citizen of the year turns negatives into positives

Olivia Eriksen was awarded junior citizen of the year for her tremendous achievements throughout year 12 as school captain at Kingaroy State High School.

Not only did Olivia balance a tough year of school and work, she also played AFL for the South Burnett Saints and organised a fundraiser for the Cancer Council.

Olivia said it was an honour to receive junior citizen of the year.

“I am honoured to be awarded junior citizen of the year. All the other nominees were exceptional candidates and all worthy of the award as well but to be named and come out on top would have to be one of the best achievements I have received,” Olivia said.

“I’d like to also congratulate the other nominees for all the categories, it was so nice to hear all the wonderful positive things people in the south Burnett are doing to make this place a great place to live.”

Olivia was the 2020 school captain at Kingaroy State High School, leading her fellow students through what will go down as one of the most challenging years for year 12 students in history.

Olivia said although it was tough she did her job to the best of her abilities.

“COVID-19 was definitely one of the toughest years I have encountered. I think what made it quite hard for me was being in Year 12 and having the added pressure of having external exams to sit and so much content to learn and revise, especially when we were learning from home for those few weeks,” she said.

“COVID was tough on my role as School Captain as I wasn’t able to do the many things or take as many opportunities as the previous school captains have. But in saying that, I was still able to do my job to the best of my ability and I am grateful to still have been a role model to the students.

“The one piece of advice I stuck to during the year was that in tough times, you have to turn the negatives into positives, which I believe I did and this helped me to overcome the many challenges COVID-19 brought.”

Kingaroy State High School's 2020 student leaders: Toby Schmidt (vice captain), Olivia Eriksen (school captain), Ashley Roediger (principal), Lachlan Hansen (school captain), and Asha Cooper (vice captain).
Kingaroy State High School's 2020 student leaders: Toby Schmidt (vice captain), Olivia Eriksen (school captain), Ashley Roediger (principal), Lachlan Hansen (school captain), and Asha Cooper (vice captain).

Olivia was also instrumental in raising thousands of dollars for the Cancer Council through a #rockthechop event.

“Since around July 2020, Chelsea Whye and myself decided that in our senior year we wanted to do something that means a lot to both of us,” she said.

“We decided to organise our #rockthechop event where individuals can choose to either donate money or their hair to Cancer Council. The donated hair had to be a minimum of 20cm and was sent off to be made into wigs for those who are suffering hair loss from cancer treatments.

“Our school fundraising page had a goal to raise $2000 and in the end we ended up fundraising over $4000.”

The #rockthechop event took place on November 18 in 2020 where students were invited to watch the event, with a gold coin donation for entry.

Olivia was offered a position at university to study biomedical science, however has opted to take a gap year, work hard and save money before diving back into study in Brisbane next year.