2022 Zonta Award recipient – Lilian Wade

Year 12 student, Lily Wade, was recently named the 2022 Zonta International Award recipient.

Of the last five years, four Zonta International Award recipients have been students of Ballarat Clarendon College. In 2018, Nia Harrison, 2020, Eloise Amirtharajah, 2021, Sehnil Nawar and now, in 2022, Lily Wade.

Throughout her time at Clarendon, Lily has played an important role in community service. She was Walker House Leader and heavily involved in the Sustainability Committee as well as establishing the Reconciliation Action Plan and Clarendon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander scholarships.

The goal of the Zonta International Young Women in Public Affairs (YWPA) Program is to encourage young women to participate in public affairs by recognising their commitment to the volunteer sector, evidence of volunteer leadership achievements and a dedication to empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy.

“For me, the most rewarding part of being a leader is seeing the positive change you can instigate through influence, support and a drive for a better standard,” said Lily. “These changes might seem small, like ensuring an Acknowledgment of Country is read at the start of every school assembly, or removing gender from the school’s uniform policy to allow students to choose which uniform they want to wear, but each change makes a large, positive impact on the members of that community.”

Old Collegian, Eloise Amirtharajah (2020), met with Lily for the presentation of the 2022 Zonta International Award.

“I was honoured to hear from Zonta and that they wanted to me to be a judge for their scholarship program,” said Eloise. “The opportunities that it provides and the access it creates to pursue a career in public affairs was such a great starting point for me, and I was so grateful to have the opportunity to be on the other side of the process this year.”

Eloise is in the midst of completing her second year at RMIT studying a Bachelor of International Studies. She is also interning as a research assistant at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation, where she explores issues surrounding marine pollution and gender imbalances across the Asia-Pacific region, with a particular focus on Sri Lanka.

“The applicants from across Ballarat filled the YWPA judging panel with hope for the future as they displayed such passion for collective and individual change on both a regional and international scale,” said Eloise. “Lily was truly a standout and her aspirations for the future will most definitely be guided by her compassion and care for those in her community and collective marginalised groups in the wider global landscape.”

Looking beyond her time at Clarendon, Lily hopes to study theoretical physics at RMIT. She has applied to study a Bachelor of Physics, with plans to complete an Honours, Masters and PhD in theoretical physics at RMIT and, later, Cambridge University in England.

While at university, she looks forward to joining committees to create action in areas that mirror her values, as she has done at Clarendon, such as climate justice, reconciliation efforts and actions, equal rights, advocating for the homeless, feminism and steminism.

“For me, the Zonta International Award represents the voices and actions of women that are often overlooked, where all the hard work is done behind the scenes so that all can reap the reward,” said Lily. “While the point of volunteering and leadership is not for the recognition or the fame, being acknowledged that your hard work isn’t going unnoticed is truly special. YWPA is an amazing community of like-minded and hard-working women, and it’s one that I’m truly privileged to be a part of.”

Congratulations, Lily, on this wonderful achievement.