Determined to create a welcoming environment for all, Shepparton Christian College student Nathan Doherty has been recognised for his efforts.
Awarded the Courage to Care Local Hero Award, Nathan, 12, shared his story yesterday as part of the Courage To Care Exhibition in Shepparton.
When a new family started at the school, Nathan recognised the need for extra support during AUSLAN lessons, the compulsory LOTE subject taught at his school through primary school to Year 8.
He made special effort to organise worksheets, while encouraging his friends and classmates to show support.
‘‘I had a feeling they wouldn’t know that much AUSLAN, so without being asked, I went and photocopied some work for them and helped them get some seats in class,’’ he said.
Courage To Care chief executive officer Mike Zervos said the Local Hero Award was given to a community member who displayed upstanding behaviour.
‘‘We show the students an example from their own community and in Nathan’s case it was an act of kindness for newer students coming into his school,’’ he said.
‘‘He was able to take them under his wing and show him that kindness and so that’s why we recognise him as a local hero.’’
Held from June 17 to June 28, the exhibition encouraged young people to stand up against bullying and prejudice and inspires them to take positive action as ‘Upstanders’, rather than bystanders.
During the exhibition, students were exposed to an extreme example of the consequences of racism, prejudice and bystander behaviour during the Holocaust, through a film and first-hand testimony from a survivor on the day.
The students also took part in discussion about their own life experiences and consider a number of practical ways in which they could convey the message — Courage to Care.
Nathan said speaking at the event yesterday was ‘‘pretty nerve-wracking,’’ but he was glad to share his story with the other students.
Mr Zervos said almost 1000 students from across the region would take part in the exhibition.