Thursday, October 19, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Bowen State High School Year 12 School Caption, Danzel Lewis has been awarded the prestigious Order of Australia Association (Queensland Branch) Secondary Schools Citizenship Award.
Nominated by Bowen State High School Principal Robert Harris, Danzel was honoured with the award for his outstanding and dedicated service within the school campus as well as in the wider Bowen community.
In his nomination, Mr Harris explained that Danzel is the only First Nations’ student to be elected as school Captain, a regional finalist in the 2023 Queensland Training Awards, in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year category, and the first indigenous student to undertake a Certificate III in Business with local civil earthmoving and quarry business Hillery Group in Bowen.
“Danzel is inspirational in motivating younger indigenous students to value the importance of education,” Mr Harris wrote in his nomination.
“Danzel instigated a project this year, where he has written and presented letters to Year 7 to 11 students who have improved in their subject results, effort, and behaviour. During Term 2 this year, Danzel approached the school administration to speak to the entire school body about mental health impacts of bullying and domestic violence. This was a powerful message, and he was commended by staff for this courage to speak up against bullying and violence. This has led to more students feeling confident to stand up against bullying and reporting incidences.”
The Secondary Schools Citizenship Awards received 94 nominations from across Queensland, with Danzel one of 12 students to be a recipient.
Danzel himself was unaware that Mr Harris had nominated him for the award, and it was even more a surprise to be one of the 12 students to receive the award.
“It was a very overwhelming moment to find out that I was one of twelve students out of the whole state to be recognized for what I thought was modest community work,” Danzel explained.
He further explained that his passion and drive to service the school and community stemmed from his upbringing.
“The passion to serve my school and community comes mainly from the way I was brought up by my culture (being of Aboriginal and South Sea Islander heritage), my family, and my faith. They all taught me the importance of patience, kindness, empathy, respect, and serving others, especially my elders.”
For Danzel, this recognition feels weird.
“I still feel weird looking at the award plaque sitting on my desk. I don’t feel like I’m special or have done anything extremely outgoing to receive it. I just do what I love and live the way my family, my culture and my faith have taught me to live.”
Bowen State High School student Danzel Lewis and Principal Robert Harris at Parliament House in Brisbane, accepting his Secondary Schools Citizenship Award. Photo supplied