When Berry Public School captain Saxon Hilkemeijer took part in a public speaking competition he never dreamt it would lead to him getting an award.
Let alone one for the Shoalhaven Police.
At the school’s annual presentation on Wednesday, Saxon was awarded the Shoalhaven Local Area Command Integrity Award.
The award is for a student who displays conduct such as showing honestly, showing pride within their school community, showing pride in their school uniform, acting in the school’s statement of values, showing leadership, taking responsibility and considering others feelings.
Saxon, who according to Berry Principal Bob Willetts, has done an outstanding job as school captain, also initiated the High 5 for 5 program, where he encouraged students to bring in five cents each week to raise money for underprivileged children overseas.
Saxon was excited and honoured to receive the award.
“It was a real honour to get this award and be recognised for what I have done,” he said.
“We were having a big family dinner and my grandparents were talking about underprivileged children in other countries and I thought I could do something about it.”
He touched on the idea during his public speaking competition speech.
“Children make up 25 per cent of the world’s population, however we are 100 per cent of the future,” he said.
“That being the case I believe children should be empowered to make positive change in the world.
Five cent pieces are pretty underrated by a lot of people…they think their pretty useless, they clog wallets or get thrown into jars but small things can make a big impact.
“After hearing there were 124 million children in the world who do not go to school because of poverty, child labour, trafficking, war, terrorism and early marriage to name a few, I came up with an idea I would like to pursue - ‘5 Cent Education’.
“Five cent pieces are pretty underrated by a lot of people…they think their pretty useless, they clog wallets or get thrown into jars but small things can make a big impact.
“My idea is that if every school student in Australia gave five cents a week for the school year we could raise over $7 million.
“Children can donate five cents a week for every week of the school year or alternately one donation of $2 in the year, which is the equivalent of five cents for 40 weeks.
“Imagine if people were generous enough to donate four five cent pieces per week - we could raise $28 million for those children.
If every school student in Australia gave five cents a week for the school year we could raise over $7 million.
“I just thought it was an easy way to collect money. Around three quarters of our school have backed the appeal and have taken part in this year’s collection.”
He even thought up a logo for 5 Cent Education which is a child’s hand with the slogan “High 5 for 5”.
The Berry Rotary Club also heard his speech and joined together to help drive the program.
The school’s final fundraising effort is still being tallied.
“I hope the program continues next year and may eventually spread around the country,” he said.
“We are supporting Nepal at the moment but we hope to get the program off the ground to possibly support a few other countries in Indonesia.”
Mr Willetts said Saxon was a fantastic role model.
“As a school we are just so proud of him,” he said.
“He is a fantastic role model to all the students in every way. An outstanding participant in school life.
“He takes part in every aspect of school - sport, culture, music, public speaking.
“Saxon is a great sportsperson who always shows great leadership and sportsmanship. He also has outstanding academic results.”
Mr Willetts said Saxon’s public speaking speech about social change was superb and was the launching pad for the High 5 for 5 program.
“His ability to realise how much could be raised if every student in the state or country got involved was astounding,” he said.
Shoalhaven LAC acting Youth Liaison Officer Senior Constable Rachael Pearce made the presentation saying Saxon was just the second recipient of the award.
“During the course of the police duties officers have a number of involvements with young people,” Snr Const Pearce said.
“These involvements can be both challenging and positive circumstances.
“It was identified by the Shoalhaven Crime Management Unit there was a need to acknowledge some of the positive behaviour of the young people in their school community, which led to the integrity award to identify these young people who act in a manner in their school community similar to the policing role.
“Nominees are called for from all local schools.”
The award will again be presented in 2017.