Accolade. Kurtis Maher has been named a Young Legend in the national Keep Australia Beautiful campaign.
The award recognises the achievements of an individual or group of young people who have contributed to the sustainability of their community. The 18-year-old received joint recognition alongside Wooragee Primary School in Beechworth, Victoria.
“I’m still trying to take in the enormity of the recognition,” says Kurtis.
“No one knew I’d be receiving it, so when my name was called out it was a big shock.”
Recipients demonstrate initiative, leadership and strength of character in taking action on behalf of their community and are recognised for successful outcomes from youth-led initiatives.
“I feel such a sense of community in Circular Head,” says Kurtis.
“And from all this community has given me in the past, this is my way to give back in some form.”
After graduating from Circular Head Christian School last year, Kurtis is currently studying his first of three years in a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts at University of Tasmania in Launceston.
Kurtis represented his peers at CHCS as a member of the student leadership team throughout middle and senior school and as school captain in college, leading school assemblies and speaking at community events. He also represented his peers and wider community as president of Circular Head Youth Leaders last year.
Earlier this year, Kurtis received the Young Citizen of the Year award from Circular Head Council, presented by gold medalist Shane Gould.
He has volunteered his time with Riverbend Youth Camp as a leader since 2012, and also attends annual training weekends.
Kurtis played an integral role in the creation of the ABC Heywire documentary Two Trains which earned the crew the Sustainable Communities Youth Award at the state Tidy Towns Awards held in Stanley earlier this year. He has also co-hosted and featured on episodes of the local podcast The Tonic, including interviewing Premier Will Hodgman and Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff.
“Seeing everything that is going on around the world . . . I feel if I can do anything to help make my community a bit better, I’ll play my part in making that happen,” he says.
“It’s that sense of knowing I have been able to make my community a better place that drives me.
“It’s something I truly enjoy, and pride myself in doing.”