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This is the first time joint winners have been awarded in the Clutha district. This award recognises secondary school students’ service to the school and the community and is run in partnership with the Clutha District Council.

This is the first time joint winners have been awarded in the Clutha district and the award is run in conjunction with the TrustPower Clutha District Community Awards which were presented on Monday October 8 at the Rosebank Lodge. This award recognises secondary school students’ service to the school and the community and is run in partnership with the Clutha District Council. 

Local high schools were asked to recommend one student to be recognised for the Award. To be considered for the TrustPower Youth Community Spirit Award students had to have given service to school or community projects, treated others with care and respect and been a good ambassador for the school and the Clutha region. Other finalists for the Award include Thomas Blackmore from Lawrence Area School and Zoe Robson from South Otago High School. 

Tony Johnston from Blue Mountain College has thrown himself into college life wholeheartedly. As well representing his school as Head Boy, Tony is a Clutha District Council Student Representative. At his school Tony has been involved in ANZAC memorials, Indoor Bowls, Speech competitions and he is also very involved in promoting cultural events throughout the School. 

On top of a tough academic programme out in the community some of Tony’s involvements include organising a disco for youth, assisting with working bees and he has volunteered for the A & P Society.

“Tony impressed the judges with his extensive involvement in his school and wider community. It was clear he is a positive role model who is very supportive of his peers and willingly gives his time to help others,” says TrustPower Community Relations Representative Jess Somerville. 

Nadia McDonnell from Tokomairiro High School is very passionate about putting an end to poverty and has a strong belief that everyone can make a difference, no matter how small. 

At her school and in the community Nadia is heavily involved in a broad range of activities and some of these include the 40 hour famine fundraiser, and she volunteers her time to play the piano at her church, the local Primary School and for others who enjoy listening. 

Out in the community Nadia is also a Netball coach, has helped organise a fun run in Milton and this year took part on a Youth Mission Trip to Fiji. On this trip she spent three weeks working in schools, villages and houses doing first aid and mission work. 

TrustPower Community Relations Representative Jess Somerville says like Nadia like Tony manages to do all of this while maintaining excellent academic results.

“Nadia’s caring nature is readily demonstrated in her commitment to always go the extra mile to help others whenever possible and she has a natural ability to get on well with all that she meets,” says Miss Somerville. 

“Her school describes her as someone who shines the values of respect, kindness and consideration and is always willing to serve,” she says. 

For winning the Award, Nadia and Tony will each receive a framed certificate and $500 prize money, with $250 going to Nadia and Tony personally and $250 being given to a community group of their choice. 

 Tony chose to donate $250 to the West Otago Lions Club and Nadia chose to donate $250 to the Salvation Army.