Local youth win big at Council Australia Day awards

Harry Bruce-Tennant accepting the Young Citizen of the Year award. Picture: YARRA RANGES LIFE TV.

By Parker McKenzie

Olinda local Harry Bruce-Tennant has won 2022 Young Citizen of the Year at the Yarra Ranges Council’s Australia Day awards.

14-year-old Harry won the award for his thoughtfulness, care and compassion for his community in the wake of the June storms.

He developed an idea for gemstone bracelets to be shared with community members as a reminder of the community spirit throughout the natural disaster.

Yarra Ranges Council Mayor Jim Childs said the bracelets were a symbol of hope for the community.

“Council is pleased to award Harry the Young Citizen of the year award,” Mayor Childs said.

“We thank him for his hard work during our community’s darkest days.”

After finding a wholesaler, he set up a website for people to tell their stories and distributed the bracelets at emergency relief centres in the Dandenong Ranges.

Harry has shared more than 500 bracelets to people over five months after receiving funding through Yarra Ranges Council.

Harry took the time out from being a ball boy at the Australian Open to accept his reward.

“There are many young people doing great things in the community,” Harry said.

“My personal motto is seek respect, not attention, it lasts longer.”

Harry has also been chosen as a finalist in the Edstart Achievement Awards for Social Impact, where he received a grant, and also successfully applied for a Regional Arts Victoria Creative Recovery Grant.

A group of year five and six students at The Patch Primary School also won the Ken McIntosh Memorial Award for young environmental achievers.

Gang Green – formed in 1998 to help students understand the environment and its value – meets every Tuesday afternoon under the supervision of STEM educator Nina DeVreeze and school gardener Ken Colley.

The work of the students has helped shape the landscape at the school and helped provide outdoor classrooms.

Students have designed indigenous wildlife corridors, ornamental gardens and wetland environments which mitigate the impact of stormwater.