Archbishop’s Awards 2016: ‘Deeds not words’ set Madelyn apart

Madelyn Whiting. Photo: Kitty Beale

Madelyn Whiting will graduate from Domremy College Five Dock next week having lived school life to the full.

The Year 12 student’s contribution to the community was celebrated with an Archbishop of Sydney Award for Student Excellence on September 8.

The award acknowledges students’ achievements and contribution to school life in areas including leadership, academic and sporting life, social justice, Parish life and faith, and community service.

“When I read the email I was very shocked, very excited, very honoured,” she said.

“The two other girls who were nominated from our school were very good candidates as well, so I had some tough competition.”

Madelyn has taken part in social justice activities including the uplift project, which donates bras to women from disadvantage communities, and the St Vincent de Paul Brekky Van, which provides breakfast to homeless people.

Madelyn travelled on Domremy College’s inaugural immersion trip to Fiji, where she helped to build a computer lab and teacher’s quarters for a local primary school. Participants also cooked dinner for a HART (Housing Assistance and Relief Trust) community, prepared a site for a septic tank to be installed, and wind-proofed a local man’s tin house that was exposed to the elements.

“It was really interesting seeing a different way of life and how the people there lived,” Madelyn said. “They were so welcoming. It was a really good experience.”

Madelyn has also been a stage hand for school productions, a member of the school band and helped guide visitors during school open days. She helped run catechesis sessions at Five Dock Public school and won an ADF Leadership Award after joining a student conference which discussed social justice for asylum seekers and refugees among other initiatives.

Madelyn has also participated in a forum where Year 10 students from Sydney Catholic secondary schools spoke about changes they wanted to see in school and society.

Principal Vivienne Awad said Madelyn was a strong part of the school community and embodied the words of Nano Nagle, who started the school’s founding religious order the Presentation Sisters.

“Nano Nagle was about deeds not words, and that’s Madelyn – she’s a doing girl,” Ms Awad said. “Madelyn is very humble. She’s is one of those quiet achievers and has supported everything that has gone on at the school.”

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