Mirani SHS Year 12 student Scarlett Penshorn is a recipient of CQUni Mackay's new Changemaker Award.
Mirani SHS Year 12 student Scarlett Penshorn is a recipient of CQUni Mackay's new Changemaker Award. Contributed

Mirani student creating positive change in society

DURING Scarlett Penshorn's final year at Mirani State High School she was awarded a special prize.

Scarlett was one of 10 students to receive CQUni Mackay's new Changemaker Award and $200 bursary.

Each year, CQUniversity presents excellence awards to hundreds of school students across the country to encourage them on their learning journeys.

Last year, more than 130 awards and bursaries were presented to inspirational high school students Australia-wide.

CQUniversity's deputy vice-chancellor for engagement, campuses and Mackay-Whitsunday region, Professor Pierre Viljoen, said the award presented to Scarlett recognised students who had engaged with their school and local community, and had worked proactively towards creating positive change.

"We wanted to encourage and recognise high school students who had worked hard to make a difference in our community," Prof Viljoen said.

Scarlett said she had been an active member of her school and community for years.

"I've been a member of the Mirani Group State Emergency Service (SES) since I was 16," she said.

"In this group we help clean-up efforts after natural disasters, conduct land-search operations and rescue people from hard-to-reach locations.

"For five years, I've fundraised for Relay for Life with all proceeds going to the Cancer Council.

"Each year our school team aims to raise $15,000 and most years we've proudly achieved that.

"I also volunteer at annual events including ANZAC Day services, and have represented the school in a number of competitions."


When presenting the award, Mirani SHS principal Scott Cage noted Scarlett was an "exemplary role model for other students".

"Scarlett has excelled in every aspect of her academic life and, in addition, she demonstrates a social conscience and strong desire to contribute to the school and wider community in whatever capacity will be most useful and supportive," Mr Cage said.

Scarlett described the award win as 'an honour'.

"If my actions inspire others to strive to support our community and become a changemaker too, that would be a really great thing," she said.