Taking on an important role for Sunday’s Anzac ceremony at Bella Vista, Marian College Year 11 student Ellarose Halakas is keen to highlight the role all young Australians play in commemorating and remembering the service and sacrifice of Australia’s servicemen and servicewomen.
Ellarose, along with Bethany Wade from Castle Hill High, Olivia Silcock from William Clarke College and Oscar Henderson from Northholm Grammar School, was recently appointed a 2021 ANZAC Ambassador and presented a powerful speech to many veterans and their families on Sunday.
“As an ambassador, I would love for all individuals and future generations to recognise the importance of Anzac Day and its significance in showing our gratitude for their sacrifices,” said Ellarose. “I believe it is critical to participate in ceremonies and acknowledge the devotion which the Anzacs displayed as they fought for millions of lives and harmony on earth.”
Through their involvement in the Ambassador program, the students have developed a deeper understanding of Anzac traditions and how veterans have served this country.
“Anzac Day is definitely significant,” said Ellarose. “I believe everyone must understand the devastation which the soldiers suffered and their immense grit throughout the horrific battles they fought. I promise to ensure their legacy will forever remain treasured in our hearts as we recall their moments in battle and their immense contribution throughout many major wars.”
Along with veterans, Ellarose feels it is vital that we remember others impacted by war.
“My great grandmother experienced the negative effects and suffering of war back at home,” she said. “The resilience of families is definitely underestimated in society as we tend to recognise only the soldiers and their efforts. I definitely believe loved ones back at home were affected just as greatly, as they were exposed to the heartbreak and stress of losing their family and friends. I want to raise awareness of the great determination and bravery which loved ones displayed back at home.”
The students have enjoyed taking part in public speaking training with radio broadcaster Gareth McCray OAM.
“This role means so much to me as I love giving back to the community, and representing the youth of the hills,” she said. “I am very passionate about building on the tradition of the ANZAC mateship and strength throughout many world wars and believe it is absolutely critical to continue their legacy. I am so grateful for my life and believe it is vital that we pay our respects to those who have sacrificed their lives, for the wider community.
With thanks to Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta.