Another SCOTS student recognised as a top ‘Young Citizen’ in State-wide contest

Regular readers of this Newsletter and our other periodicals, such as The Tartan, may recall that in 2015 Year 12 student Olivia Rickert was recognised by the Order of Australia Association, Queensland Branch, as one of their 12 Secondary Schools Citizenship Award winners at a ceremony at Parliament House, in Brisbane.  Every year all Queensland schools are invited to nominate worthy students (the selection criteria are daunting) with a strict limit of whatever number of words might fit on one page of A4 paper imposed on the person supporting that nominee.  That challenge was once again accepted by SCOTS in 2018, and we have another winner of this extremely prestigious award, Bridget Hegerty!

Bridget’s contribution to our College community and so many others beyond it is immense and quite remarkable.  I have abridged the nomination below, to save Bridget some blushes and the newsletter editor some web-space, but there is simply no way to do justice to her commitment to improving the lives of others in a mere 800 words (the final length of the actual submission).

‘Bridget Hegerty is our Prefect with responsibility for Social Justice and the Student Council, a role she was simply born to play at SCOTS.  One of those extremely rare altruistic people who always seem to think first of others, before herself, Bridget not only coordinates all charitable activities at SCOTS but still finds even more ‘free’ time to devote to similar good deeds beyond the confines of the campus.  The fact that she remains one of our strongest academic performers and won a place at the National Youth Science Foundation (NYSF) Summer School in Canberra in January 2017, to now be further affirmed by selection for the NYSF International Forum in London in July and August 2017, underlines her ability to multi-task remarkably successfully.

Bridget has represented the College in several sports and has been a volunteer coach/referee at our Junior Touch Football program since 2014.  However, Bridget’s real passion is in the equestrian arena, and her list of achievements in the SCOTS Equestrian team attests to her commitment not only to represent her College with flair and consummate skill but also her compassion and support for less experienced peers.  In 2016 Bridget received the Gold Award of the Queensland Equestrian Interschool organisation, the body that encourages, ‘the development of discipline, character, sportsmanship, teamwork and a sense of achievement,’ in schools right across Australia. 

Bridget’s generosity of spirit was exemplified recently when a younger, and less experienced team member, in her first competition, had failed to prepare her horse’s mane properly.  Bridget sacrificed her own preparation time to ensure the newcomer entered the ring on schedule, perfectly presented, even though Bridget was thus unable to prepare her horse as required, and so was penalised in the judges’ marking of her performance.  Bridget is also well-known for volunteering to attend competitions to assist inexperienced SCOTS riders even on days when she is not competing.

And when the opportunity does allow Bridget to prepare fully for College equestrian competitions, she excels; achieving Reserve Champion in Novice Dressage at the Queensland Interschool Championships and 3rd place in Novice Dressage at the Australian Interschool Championships in 2017.

An appeal Bridget launched for the Lighthouse Community Centre in Warwick, collecting non-perishable food items for local families in crisis, produced dozens of boxes of essential items and cash donations of over $300.  Bridget can mobilise people inspired by her drive and commitment, and as always, she did not lack for followers to help her publicise this worthy cause and organise collections right across the College. 

When not at school, Bridget has been elected an official ‘Friend of Rotary’ at the Warwick Sunrise Rotary Club.  As one adult member put it, ‘her presence dramatically reduces the average age of the group!’  Despite her youthfulness, the older Rotarians are happy to rely on Bridget as a valued volunteer and enthusiastic driver of all manner of good deeds within the local area, and beyond.

Bridget Hegerty indeed is an alchemist of time.  She transforms and somehow extends mundane moments into golden opportunities to serve others and makes a positive difference in the world. Our College is inordinately proud of her, and delighted she is one of ours.  It is a privilege to be swept along by the tide of servant leadership Bridget generates’.

Typically a mere 75 students are deemed worthy of nomination each year from the over 1700 secondary schools in Queensland, from Cooktown to Coolangatta.  From that 75, the 12 students selected by a panel of Order of Australia Medal recipients will once again be presented with their OAM Association awards in Brisbane on September 21st.  We would like to congratulate Bridget on being recognised in this way.  It is a measure of the young woman she is that all this ‘fuss’ has left her rather bewildered!  The pomp and ceremony of Parliament House, meeting Her Honour Catherine Holmes, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Queensland, and being serenaded by invited musicians, including, quite coincidentally, two of our very own pipers (!) is so far removed from the unglamorous, often unnoticed good deeds Bridget is renowned for.  We are all very proud of her indeed.

Written by Mr David Proudlove – Head of Senior School