QLD Secondary Schools Citizenship Awards


Nominations are now open and can be received anytime up to and including Wednesday 31 July 2024

The Queensland Branch of the Association invites nominations annually for Secondary Schools’ Citizenship Awards from Queensland Secondary Schools.

The Secondary Schools Citizenship Awards have been conducted in Queensland since 1999. Other State Branches of the Association conduct similar Citizenship Awards.

The purpose of the Awards

  • To recognise students for their community service and remind us all of the significant level of volunteering undertaken by young Australians;
  • to encourage students to think about Australian citizenship and the importance of contributing to their community through service and involvement; and
  • to make students more aware of the Australian Honours system and the ideals of good citizenship that it enshrines.

The awards program is conducted by the Queensland Branch in accord with its approved policy.

Nomination Forms

2024 Nomination forms (to be completed by the School not the student and endorsed by the Principal, Head of School or equivalent.) These are available here for downloading in either word or pdf format.

Nomination Process

A letter is sent to all Queensland secondary schools in Term 2, inviting them to nominate Year 12 students for these Awards. The schools select their nominees based on their involvement and commitment to the ideals of citizenship and provide written examples to demonstrate what the student has undertaken and achieved. Students in Year 11 or below are not eligible to be nominated.

A student will only be awarded a Secondary Schools Citizenship Award by the Queensland Branch once in his/her secondary schooling.

Selected students may not necessarily be academic or sporting high-achievers, but they will have displayed a commitment to bettering the world in which they live in and will be excellent role models. Schools are encouraged to nominate not only school leaders but also worthy students who may not have a school leadership role but nevertheless demonstrate outstanding citizenship and community service commitment. Multiple nominations are welcomed where school principals have a number of outstanding students they consider are eligible for consideration for these awards. However, wherever possible, it would be appreciated if a school would limit nominations to no more than three students they consider represent the best candidates form the school for the award.

The students nominated will generally have impressive lists of activities in which they are actively involved. They may range from door-knocking for numerous charities to fund-raising initiatives, involvement in school and community events, consulting with local government, youth parliaments, visiting nursing homes, helping senior citizens, running youth clubs or advocacy groups, surf life saving, mentoring younger students, public speaking. The activities undertaken by students need not be confined to the above list which is not exhaustive. There are sure to be many other worthy pursuits undertaken by students striving to improve their communities that may be showcased.

The school, when nominating a student, should attach with the application form a written one A4 page statement of community service based on the following criteria:

  • Participation in social service activities at the school;
  • engagement with the community outside the school;
  • involvement in the school’s co-curricular life such as music, sports, societies and clubs;
  • examples of leadership shown by the student in school life (formal and/or informal); and
  • comment on the student’s character.

The author of the one-page statement should write in a manner that endeavours to promote the student’s attributes to the judging panel. A series of dot points, that simply lists the student’s participation or memberships, tells the panel little of the quality and extent of the student’s community service, leadership or character.

Nominations are enhanced if selected cited examples of service contain precise and detailed information about the service performed by the student. In addition the positive outcomes to community and school, that resulted from that service, should be explained.

The member of staff who writes this one page A4 statement of community service must sign the statement and include their name and position in the school.

Additional material over and above the one A4 page statement of community service will not be considered.

The nomination form is to be endorsed by the School Principal or Head of School or equivalent.

Judging process

A panel of judges from The Order of Australia Association, Queensland Branch selects the twelve most outstanding submissions. These students receive a prestigious award engraved with their name and incorporating the Association emblem and a Certificate of Merit. These students attend a ceremony at Parliament House in Brisbane during September to receive their awards.

All other students nominated for an Award receive a Certificate of Community Service to recognise their nomination and the importance of their contribution to society. These certificates are sent to the schools in September and the Principals usually make a public presentation of the certificates at a school assembly.

Awards sponsor

The Association expresses its sincere gratitude to Tim Fairfax AC, the Awards sponsor. It is through his generosity and strong support for the program that these awards are made possible.

Status of the Awards

Successful students receiving the “Secondary Schools Citizenship Award” need to be aware that these awards are NOT awards in the Order of Australia – which are awards under the Australian honours system and are considered by the Council for the Order of Australia and approved by the Governor-General. More information on the Order of Australia can be found at www.itsanhonour.gov.au

The student awards are received from “ The Order of Australia Association”, which is a separate entity to the Order of Australia. A successful student should refer to their award as a “Secondary Schools Citizenship Award” received from The Order of Australia Association, Queensland Branch”.

The awards do not carry a post nominal after the successful student’s name.

Commemorative plaques presented to students should not be confused with the Order of Australia Medal. It is inappropriate for a student to refer to any award received under the Secondary School Citizenship Awards scheme as an Order of Australia Award or an Order of Australia Medal or an OAM or any other coined title award utilising the words ‘Order of Australia’ without reference to the Association in the name.

Nominating schools are encouraged to counsel participating students in understanding these distinctions.

Presentation of the Awards

The presentation of these awards will take place on Friday 13 September 2024 at a ceremony at Parliament House, Brisbane. The successful students receive their awards sometimes from the Governor of Queensland or if the Governor is unavailable from another prominent Queenslander.

Successful students may travel from all over Queensland to attend this function, with family and friends. Members of the Association and other distinguished guests from the youth and education sectors will also be invited to attend the function. It is always a very dignified and impressive occasion.

Further Information

Further information can be obtained from the Secondary Schools Citizenship Coordinator – Geoff Cowles OAM;

Previous Winners

 Note – the Awards were not conducted in 2020 due to the Covid 19 pandemic.