The school captain of Dorrigo High, Elizabeth Waugh, has won an Excellence in Student Achievement award from the NSW Department of Education.
The Minister's Awards recognise outstanding Year 12 students who have excelled in their secondary years across academic, sporting, cultural, community and leadership spheres.
School Principal Samantha Hutton said Libby has done an incredible job in a very challenging year, both at school and within the community.
"She's our school captain and she's also a leader in the Student Representative Council, and she plays a crucial role there in developing policy at the school," Ms Hutton said.
She said Libby has been actively involved in wellbeing initiatives that help students feel happy at school.
"We have lunchtime sport on Mondays and Wednesday and she's there encouraging and supporting the younger students. One of her real strengths is that she's so welcoming. She's inclusive."
Ms Hutton said Libby is also excelling academically and plans to go to university next year. She has yet to decide her particular path, but it is likely to be science or engineering.
Libby's community work has included helping those impacted by last year's bush fires, being involved with the Dorrigo Agricultural Show Society and doing patrols with the Sawtell Surf Lifesaving Club.
To top it off, she is currently an Australian Champion in surf lifesaving, in the ski relay.
Ms Hutton said the team had been hoping to defend the title this year but it was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The novel coronavirus also meant that Libby and the other award recipients were unable to be feted at a special ceremony, but this doesn't diminish the value of the awards.
"It's really good that the Minister has acknowledged the contribution she has made not only to the school but also to the greater community as well," Ms Hutton said.
2020 Minister's and Secretary's Awards
The awards to 120 individuals and schools showcase NSW public school students, staff and parents who have made major contributions to their education communities and serve as role models to their peers.
They also acknowledge schools that have embraced innovative programs to improve student wellbeing and academic results and are changing the way education is delivered within the government system.
The award recipients, from right across NSW, were selected in the following categories:
Minister's Award for Excellence in Student Achievement
Minister's Award for Excellence in Teaching
Secretary's Award for Excellent Service
Secretary's Award for an Outstanding School Initiative
Secretary's School Achievement Award
Public School Parent of the Year
The NSW Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell, said the awards affirmed the high standards, dedication and community connections in the public education system.
"These awards highlight the tremendous contribution that students, teachers, support staff, principals and the school community make to public education in NSW as we strive for learning and teaching excellence," Ms Mitchell said.
Department of Education Secretary Mark Scott said it was timely to celebrate the range of achievements in a difficult year for schools, staff and students.
"This year's recipients showed the remarkable flexibility and resourcefulness in our school communities when faced with the learning challenges of COVID-19," he said. "Many of these schools and teachers have used their significant knowledge of education in their communities to lift their school standards and recognise all students as their own learners."
Public Education Foundation executive director David Hetherington said the foundation was proud to host the awards on behalf of Education Minister Sarah Mitchell and Department Secretary Mark Scott.
"The awards are always a highlight of the education calendar, showcasing the extraordinary talent across NSW public education, which has been on display more than ever in this unusual year," Mr Hetherington said.