Taabinga student humanitarians celebrated with national award
IN WHAT has been a rollercoaster year for students nationwide, Taabinga school captain Matti van Schyndel and vice school captain Addison Fleischfresser have gone above and beyond for their classmates, and it has not gone unnoticed.
On Friday November 20, the two young leaders were recognised for their compassion, integrity and kindness at a virtual ceremony for the Fred Hollows Humanity Award - a national initiative that acknowledges Year 6 students who follow in footsteps of Fred Hollows by demonstrating humanitarian values towards others.
Matti and Addison were nominated by their teacher, Stephanie Tognola, who recognises the girls as a driving force behind the positive community of the school and push toward sustainability.
“Matti embodies compassion, integrity and kindness every day within the school and wider community,” Ms Tognola said.
“She is passionate about making a difference by helping any student or person who needs support or just an ear to listen.
“As school captain, she knew she wanted to make a strong impact on as many people as possible.
Ms Tognola said Matti gives up her lunch time every single day, using this time to organise activities and come up with ideas to make school a special place for her peers. This includes reading to younger children, supporting other leaders in their projects, organising the PLAY program, and taking part in library duties and student council meetings.
Matti also came up with the idea to end the year by burying a time capsule on school grounds, which will be recovered on Taabinga’s 150th anniversary in 2047.
With 2020 being such an influential year, Matti said she wanted to take this time to capture Taabinga State School at this moment in history.
“I thought this was going to be a great time for Taabinga’s memories. We’re making history,” Matti said.
Ms Tognola said Addison has taken the school’s drive toward sustainability on board and been extremely proactive - running a garden club, an environmental group of adults within the school and wider community, a student-friendly environmental group and ‘nude food’ days.
“She is passionate about making a difference in the world through her sustainability project,” Ms Tognola said.
Ms Tognola said Addison also oversees the school’s recycling projects through TerraCycle and Containers for Change and is passionate about making the world a better place.
“We’ve had that garden sitting there for years. I like to help the environment and I do like gardening, so I thought maybe we could start the garden up again and make it more fun for kids in their lunchtimes,” Addison said.
“To help them get engaged with the environment more.”
Since 2012, the Fred Hollows Humanity Award has recognised more than 1,500 students who follow in Fred’s footsteps by making a positive difference in the lives of others.
This year, 23 students from Queensland were nominated and recognised at the ceremony, including students from Toowoomba and other regional areas.
Founding Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation Gabi Hollows congratulated 254 students from across the nation, for their kindness, compassion and integrity.
“This year, more than ever, it’s important to recognise these values,” Gabi Hollows said.
“So it thrills me to know that amid everything going on in the world, The Foundation was able to celebrate these fine young leaders and highlight the differences they are making in their communities.
“Fred would have been incredibly proud of the contribution these students are making to society, no matter how big or small their actions.”