To the families and friends of the St Edmund’s community,
Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Awards
It is my pleasure to inform our community that one of the recipients of the Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Awards is Jason Howe, Class of 2019. Jason achieved this award in the category of Personal Achievement. Jason’s acceptance speech is included below – this wonderful account of Jason’s life explains beautifully why Jason was awarded this recognition.
The Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Awards were introduced in 1989. The ACT Government conducts the Awards in partnership with sponsors to recognise young people aged between 12 and 25 who have contributed through their personal endeavours, or who have been actively involved in the ACT community.
These Awards recognise the talent of individuals and groups from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, who have made significant contributions in areas including community work, sport, education, science, culture, the arts or the environment. Further, the Awards seek to acknowledge and recognise significant personal achievements of individual young people and groups.
Congratulations to Jason. We are all very proud of Jason’s achievement and we wish him well with his future endeavours. He is a strong symbol and model of motivation and resilience. I would also like to thank Mr Michael Monagle (Assistant Principal, Mission & Identity) in nominating and supporting Jason for this award.
Jason Howe’s acceptance speech:
“Good evening everyone. It is a real honour to be here tonight and to be given this award. As a kid back in Colombia I never imagined that I would be standing here tonight receiving an award like this, this really means a lot to me. I grew up in a family of eleven kids and we were a really poor family. I missed the opportunity of being at school because I had to help my mum collect recyclables to help support the family. I always wanted to study to be in a position where I could help people in need but I never thought I would have the opportunity. Through a series of profound events I ended up in an orphanage and then was adopted by an Australian missionary who was working in the orphanage.
Coming to Australia was like coming to a new world. This country of equality, fairness, respect and opportunities, things l never experienced in my whole life in Colombia. One thing that impacted me the most was that despite me being different, teachers and kids at school were really respectful and friendly. I was 21 years old when I graduated from St Edmund’s College. It was really hard to study at high school as an older student but I am so grateful of how I was warmly accepted and that I had the opportunity to progress academically.
This year I am doing a Bachelor of Business at University of Canberra but I am changing this semester to a Bachelor of Education because I was touched by how supportive my teachers were and I realised the impact that good teachers can have on their student’s life.
I want to thank my dad who has always been there for me and gave me everything. He gave me a family, but he also gave me the love and belonging that I never had.
I want to thank my grandma who has always there supporting my dad through the adoption process which was really hard. When I was having a really hard time in Colombia she came to encourage me and show me that I was loved; she is my second biggest fan and she cooks the best frijoles.
I want to thank Mr Monagle for nominating me for this award, and all the St Edmund’s teachers who supported me.
Once again thanks for this recognition.”
Thank you for the challenges in life that help to build my strength.
Thank you for the times when my lack of resources reminds me of the value of resourcefulness.
Thank you for the mysterious people who confound, frustrate and annoy me, teaching me patience and the art of forgiveness.
Thank you for the moments when I am in desperate need of a miracle, and at the very last moment, from an unexpected source, one arrives.
Thank you for the difficult path that only I can walk, the challenging problems that you have prepared for me to solve and the purpose that you have for my life.
Thank you for the moments of courage that you give me so that I can live a life of meaning, not comfort.
Thank you for the moments when I am aware of my many faults, not so that I can wallow in guilt, but so that I can tap into your grace and mercy.
Thank you for sending angels to wrestle with me, building my resilience and teaching me to hold on to what is good.
I pray that you would give me strong ankles for the times when I walk on rocky ground.
I pray that you would give me a strong heart for the times when pain would otherwise break my spirit.
And I pray that even in the darkest night, I will be looking to the light that’s coming.
I pray that I (and my family and friends) may be numbered with the resilient ones.
Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us
Live Jesus in Our Hearts, forever
Mr Joe Zavone
Christus Lux Mea