The ANZAC Spirit lives on

Ava F (Year 11)

This year, four year 11 students were given the opportunity to attend the 2022 ANZAC Dawn Service and Remembrance Day commemorations in Castle Hill. The students were selected as part of the Castle Hill Sub-Branch Secondary School ANZAC Ambassadors program, allowing year 11 students from across the Hills District to celebrate the ANZAC tradition – commemorating the soldiers of WWI to the veterans who served in the Afghanistan war. One participant, Ava, shares how the experience deepened her connection to the ANZAC spirit as well as her own family history:  

 “After being selected as an ambassador, we were given many different opportunities and roles; one of them being researching and writing a speech to present at the Castle Hill RSL ANZAC Day Dawn Service. Following the current conclusion of our service in the Afghanistan war, I explored the complex history of Afghanistan over the past 200 years leading up to its civil war. The other ambassadors explored Australia’s contribution in Afghanistan in reconstruction task forces, nursing and improving the roles of women in Afghan society.  

While I prepared for the role, I dove further into research of my family history. Through conversations with my relatives, I listened to the story of poppy Charlie, who as a young man from country NSW, yearned for the big adventure of combat overseas. The sacrifice of family, the time spent away training and becoming prepared for a battle that was never to be. I felt his disappointment as he was sent home to ‘serve’ on the home front as an essential, experienced young worker in the country sawmill.  The sawmill where he worked long days and prepared the wooden sleepers used in the very trenches where his mates battled an unforgiving enemy. I felt his sadness as he received news of another mate killed at war, but most of all, I felt his frustration as he waited many, many years to be recognised as a returned serviceman by way of service medal a week before his death aged 91 … on Anzac Day.  

As a young Australian, it has been an honour to represent my school and community by acknowledging those who have sacrificed so much for us. Young men and women from Indigenous communities, farming communities, the nurses who cared at the front line and those young men and women who served on home soil to deliver the freedoms that we, as young people, enjoy today. This opportunity was truly enlightening – a great honour that I will always remember. From acquiring new skills, confidence and great friendships, I highly recommend future years to take up this great opportunity.”

Josiah L (Year 12)