National honour: Southern Cross School K-12 Leo Club member Melanie Loomes has won the national Leo of the Year award.
National honour: Southern Cross School K-12 Leo Club member Melanie Loomes has won the national Leo of the Year award.

Melanie is named Leo of the Year

MELANIE LOOMES is a teenager who defies the public perception that youth often do bad things.

The community-minded teen was awarded the national Leo of the Year award at the Lions’ national convention in Mildura on May 1.

“Youth often are portrayed as only doing bad things in the media,” the 17-year-old from Ballina’s Southern Cross School K-12 Leo Club said.

“Effectively, we are the leaders of tomorrow.”

To win the award, Melanie had to be interviewed by a panel of judges through different levels of the competition, and present a five-minute prepared speech.

As a finalist for the national award, she had to present her talk to about 800 to 1000 Lions from around the country.

She spoke about homelessness, with her speech based on the broad issue of homelessness rather than the local problem.

But she said the preparation for her speech opened her eyes to how lucky she was to have a home and a loving family.

Melanie, now in Year 11, joined the school’s Leo Club when she started high school.

She saw it as a chance to ‘make a difference’.

Through the club, she has been involved in Clean Up Australia days, tree-planting days, fundraising for the Starlight Foundation, fundraising for Legacy, sold daffodils for the Cancer Council, fundraised for Ballina Riding for the Disabled Association and was involved in cooking pancakes and cupcakes for other fundraisers.

Melanie has been on her school’s Student Representative Council since 2006, was selected for a National Leadership Camp and was selected to be Director-General for a Day through the Education Department.

She also has been selected to attend the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington DC in July.

Melanie said she was ‘excited’ to win the national award. She plans to now apply to enter the International Leo of the Year award.

The Southern Cross School K-12 Leo Club comes under the wing of the East Ballina Lions Club.



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