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Student News: ZONTA International

On the 30th of June, I applied for the ZONTA international ‘Young Women in Public Affairs’ award. I was nominated by Mrs Swain, who is my Head of House and Mrs Shaw, the Associate Principal of Peter Moyes Anglican Community School. The award is for young women between the ages of 16-19 years who show exemplary leadership qualities and empowering characteristics, which make them role models for their peers in their community. I applied for this award because after researching the organisation I realised that I shared very similar values and ideas as the organisation itself. Also as someone still in school and aspiring for university, I am constantly looking for ways to assist my community through volunteering or by raising awareness for prevalent issues.  When I was given the opportunity to apply for this internationally recognised award, I was honestly surprised but simultaneously very thankful that I was considered.

The first step for this competition was to apply through a specially formatted application form, which asked me questions about my future career plans, my leadership activities related to school, my leadership experience outside of school, my awareness of cultural diversity through activities I have participated in, and finally how I empower women especially in my community and what I would do to change the way women are treated in my country. All of the questions had word limits with some only being as long as 150 words. This was incredibly challenging for me, but finally with the help of teachers and friends I was able to concisely communicate my values and involvement with community leadership thoroughly. Once this application was sent through, I was called for an interview at Scarborough library where I spoke to a panel of three judges. The organisation award is sponsored by Kott Gunning Lawyers and the Zonta International team. This was incredibly nerve-racking but the interview went very smoothly and the panel was amazing. I have now received news that I am invited to a Gala presentation Dinner on the 14th of August where the winner, which was already decided from the interviews, but not revealed, is announced in front of parliament representatives and other local society figures. Additionally I will be giving a speech on a “Woman who inspires me” for those same representatives and last year’s winner Samantha Hackman. I would like to thank everyone who empowered me, my teachers, my friends and especially my mum. I believe that empowerment of young women is so important in today’s society, and therefore I am so grateful to be just a little part of this organisation and its values.

Written by Simran Vyas (Year 12)