Students recognised for skill, courage, service

15 October 2020

Dr Greenhalgh has warmly farewelled the Class of 2020, a cohort that has risen to each challenge it has encountered during this unpredictable year. As part of a Year 12 Farewell Assembly, which was livestreamed to the Meriden community, the School Principal presented a number of significant awards that recognised the skill, courage and service of outstanding students as they prepare to undertake their HSC exams and graduate from Meriden.

Dux of the School 2020 is Julia Chung. For her exceptional academic achievement across all her HSC subjects, Julia has been awarded the Senior Turner Prize, which is in memory of Bertha Brailsford Turner, Meriden’s second Headmistress.

The Fidelis Award for Courage has been awarded to Yennis Li. At the beginning of 2020, Yennis was in China with her family when her return trip to Australia to resume her final school year was interrupted by COVID-19 border closures. These restrictions meant that Yennis completed not just the Term 2 lockdown period, but all of her remaining Year 12 study, via online learning. She will sit her final HSC Examinations in China. During this time, Yennis displayed a courageous determination to succeed despite the challenges created by immense distance. She worked patiently and diligently with her teachers, implementing feedback and completing tasks to a high standard. She remained positive and focussed, despite not having the direct friendship of her peers. Yennis received the Fidelis Award for Courage in recognition of her perseverance in the face of so many learning challenges brought about by our unprecedented global context.

School Colours have been awarded to ten students. School Colours are given to Year 12 students who have achieved an outstanding level in a cocurricular area. Each recipient must have been an exemplary ambassador of the School during her time at Meriden and contributed to the School through her area of expertise over a number of years. Citations for each recipient are below.

Olivia Arvanitis – STEM
Olivia is a fierce advocate for STEM and a dedicated role model. She received numerous external awards for Science and, in Year 10, placed third in the Young Scientist Awards in the Inventions category. The following year she was a semi-finalist in the national BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards. This enabled Olivia to represent Australia at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest international pre-college Science competition. Olivia was also a finalist in the Australian Stockholm Junior Water Prize and was selected to attend the National Youth Science Forum. Olivia has acted as a mentor to other students through her support of the Green Team, Junior Science Club and her role as Science Captain. 

Chevyone Cheah – Archery
Chevyone is an outstanding junior archer, representing her state at the Youth National Championships in Armidale, earning placings in target, clout and field. She represented her country at the Las Vegas Shoot in 2019. Chevyone was also an integral member of the Australian team at the 2019 Trans-Tasman Challenge, held in New Zealand, where she won two gold medals and one bronze medal. At Meriden, Chevyone served as Olympus Captain in 2020 and was instrumental in developing training methods for Olympus students, particularly during the lockdown period. She excelled as a mentor to junior athletes and as an ambassador for the School.

Elizabeth Dawson – Music
Elizabeth is an outstanding trumpeter and an exemplary ambassador for Music at Meriden. She was selected as First Trumpet in the Concert Band of the Australian Combined Schools Festival. Elizabeth participated in the Young Mannheim Australian Classical and Romantic Orchestra’s Young Symphonists Program in 2019 and, in the same year, placed second in the Under 19s section of the Sydney Eisteddfod. Elizabeth has been an outstanding leader of the brass section at Meriden, performing as a soloist in the Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, Brass Ensemble and Stage Band. She has performed in musicals, Anzac Day and Remembrance Day services, School and community events. Elizabeth has been a member of the Amadeus Program and has excelled as a leader and performer.

Evelyn Haseldine – Sailing
Evelyn is one of Australia’s best youth sailors and a member of Meriden’s Olympus Program. She has represented Australia on numerous occasions. One highlight of her sailing career so far was donning green and gold at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in 2018. Evelyn served as Meriden’s Olympus Captain, developing numerous programs to assist our elite athletes. Additionally, Evelyn will soon be recognised as an Australian Olympic Change-Maker in recognition of her service to sport and her embodiment of the values of the Olympic movement.

Belinda Ji – Golf
Belinda is one of Australia’s top-performing amateur golfers and a member of Meriden’s Olympus Program. One of her golfing highlights includes winning the Bonville Champions Trophy, finishing with a course record. In the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic professional event, Belinda finished third overall. At the Australian Girls’ Championships, she captained the New South Wales Team, remaining undefeated in the number one position. Belinda was awarded the Olympus Award in 2018 for achieving the highest academic and sporting results within the Olympus Program. She has served others faithfully at Meriden and has been a valuable role model to her peers.

Gahyun Lee – Music
Gahyun is a talented oboist and an exemplary ambassador for Music at Meriden. She achieved her ABRSM Diploma with Distinction in 2018 and has been the NSW Band Association State Champion of Champions for three consecutive years. In 2020, Gahyun was the winner of the NSW Band Championship State Solos. In 2019, she was selected as First Oboe in the Symphony Orchestra at the Australian Combined Schools Festival under esteemed conductor, Daniel Carter. Gahyun has been a member of Sydney Youth Orchestra’s Symphonic Wind Ensemble and the Western Sydney Youth Orchestra and has performed as an oboist in Sydney Dance Company productions. Gahyun has been an exceptional member of Meriden Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band and a committed member of the Amadeus Program.

Olivia Mitchell – Water Polo
Olivia is an elite Water Polo player and a member of the Olympus Program. Olivia is a Born 2002 Australian Identified Athlete and she is also a member of the NSW Institute of Sport Talent Development Squad. In recent years, Olivia has proudly represented her school in IGSSA and NSW CIS competitions, as well as representing New South Wales. Olivia has been an excellent role model for younger athletes and her peers, as the Swimming Captain in 2019 and School Prefect in 2020. Olivia shows exceptional commitment and resilience and is renowned by her teammates and coaches for her drive to excel in and out of the water.

Freja Newman – Drama
Freja is an exceptionally creative, dedicated and passionate dramatist who has contributed expertise and skill to Meriden and the wider community. She has performed lead roles in School musicals and productions, directed, written and stage-managed shows and mentored younger Drama students. Freja represented Meriden as a finalist in the Theatresports Schools Competition and All Girls’ Shield and performed skilfully in the Festival of Speech. Freja’s accolades in Drama extend beyond the Meriden community to her selection to both the Sydney Theatre Company’s Young Wharfies Program and the Young Belvoir Theatre Program, where she was mentored by some of Australia’s best playwrights, directors and theatre makers.

Nioka Thomas – Water Polo
Nioka is a member of Meriden’s Olympus Program and has been an exemplary leader as Water Polo Captain in 2020. She is a nationally identified water polo athlete who has proudly represented her school in IGSSA and NSW CIS competitions. Nioka is a New South Wales Institute of Sport Senior Women’s Squad member and has represented Australia at two Junior World Championships in 2018 and 2019.  A highlight of her 2019 season was scoring on her debut in Perth. Nioka is generous with her time, often assisting in the coaching of junior athletes. Her leadership is evident through her active support of Saturday Water Polo games. 

Madeleine Whip – Tennis
Madeleine served as one of four Tennis Captains in 2020 and was a member of the runner-up Meriden Blue Team at the All Schools Tennis Championships in 2018 and 2019. She was the number one Singles seed at this year’s Tildesley Shield and won the Doubles event in 2019. Madeleine competed in a number of International Tennis Federation tournaments both in Australia and overseas. Importantly, she served to promote Meriden Tennis and mentor junior members of the squad. She is generous with her time, gracious in her on-court behaviour and always focused on encouraging others.