Photo comp: Chamathka Senaratne, Australia
Chamathka Senaratne
Award Level:
Favourite memory of the Award:
My favourite memory apart from this camp would be all the ballet I got to do this year for my physical education section of the award. Recently, I got to go on a study tour and experience the life of working as a ballerina full time and at the end I performed in the ballet Swan Lake as a white swan. It was a magical night, dancing on such a big stage in front of hundreds of people, a stage much grander than the one I'm used to. Those two hours of continuous performing were painful and tiring but while I was dancing I felt like a completely different person, truly romanticising the life I was lucky to be a part of. The whole experience really made me think back to why I love ballet so much and really opened my eyes to the possibility of pursuing my passion into a career.
Biggest challenge from doing the Award:
My biggest challenge was my week of volunteer work experience at the hospital. It was extremely difficult for me to get this position due to covid but it was entirely worth the effort. I got to work with patients, doctors and carers throughout the hospital and learn to assist the best I could. I saw a lot of painful casualties, heard lots of heartbreaking stories and sat through many uncomfortable situations which helped me realise how lucky I truly am. It was a hard time but I'm still glad I went because I learnt the value of life and giving back to those in need.
Have you continued any of your Award activities? If so, what:
Yes, I still do ballet 5 times a week and now jazz, contemporary and some bollywood in my spare time to expand my dancing capabilities and because I love to dance.
Tell us the story behind your photo:
This photo was taken on last month's school camp to Mittagundi in Victoria. When our grade was given the amazing opportunity to go snow in another state and learn to live on a farm, it was the most exciting thing we had ever heard. Mittagundi is something I've been dreaming about since year 7, because all the previous year levels always bragged about how much fun it was. So when covid struck, the camp was cancelled for several years, crushing all my aspirations and dreams. However, this year the sun broke through the clouds and the storm paused, the year 10s of 2022 were allowed to go. And after, several years of dreaming, a flight halfway across the country, numerous day long bus trips filled with 48 or so stinky teens and a couple of tired teachers, we arrived at the farm, split into two groups and then the very next day we made it to the foothills of the snowy mountains in Glen Valley. The moment I stepped out of those troopies, I knew I had the biggest grin on my face. And as I looked around at my classmates, I knew we were all feeling the same thing. Gratitude, excitement and appreciation. The landscape was completely new to us. White everywhere. Back home the only nature we ever had was red dirt. But here, it was truly ethereal. And although our toes were frozen and we couldn't feel our hands, nothing could interfere with the peace I felt in my mind. I had been so worried that after all the anticipating of this camp that it wouldn't meet my expectations. All those worries had evaporated and at that moment I could not have be more grateful to be where I was. I felt so happy, I hadn't felt that good in a while. This internal reflection I was experiencing probably only lasted two minutes or so because I clearly recall getting hit in the face with a snowball about a second later. However, that moment was not forgotten, it's been a month since I came back and in all honesty, I wish I could've stayed there longer. The whole camp, everything was perfect. The deep relationships I made with my classmates, people I have known for years but never truly engaged with until camp, the new experiences like learning to ski, chop wood and blacksmith and the beauty of the environment around me, I miss it. This photo was taken before we started hiking up the snowy mountains with our packs, hot chocolate and fruit cake in hand, ready to go. And as cringe and unbelievable as it sounds, snow was falling lightly before the photo was taken. Happiness levels were high and you can see that everyone was smiling, not because the teachers told us to but because we were all genuinely happy to be there. I love this photograph so much because I like to think back to when it was taken and how I had no idea about all the incredible friendships, experiences and adventures I would embark on in the following week. I'm so grateful for this opportunity, it will always be one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
Award Role: