National Finalist Young Australian of the Year 2013
Growing up on Flinders Island, Holly Barnewall knows first-hand the difficulties students face as they must move away to complete their final two years of high school. Holly finished her schooling off the island, and then trained interstate as a teacher before returning to teach at Flinders Island District High School. She was determined to help students bridge the gap more successfully and has worked tirelessly to make a difference to young people’s lives on the island. Her list of achievements is extraordinary – not only has she rewritten the English, SOSE and arts programs to be more relevant and exciting, she has developed a transition subject to help young people live alone. Holly is also very active in extracurricular projects, such as providing ‘drug-free’ after-school and weekend activities, and connecting students to support services. To give young people a taste of the outside world, Holly has organised an international exchange program with the school. At the age of just 27, Holly has already achieved much, and was recognised with a University of Tasmania’s Faculty of Education Teaching Excellence Award for 2012.