A GROUP of students from Castlemaine Secondary College has had the unique experience of winning an award designed for an individual person.
The students, who are studying Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning, won the Mount Alexander Shire's young citizen of the year award yesterday.
Mount Alexander Shire mayor Michael Redden said there were a lot of kids that did a lot of good things.
"It was impossible to distinguish one (effort) from another so we decided to recognise the collective," he said.
"A lot of them are on the edge and not planning on getting university education and are often marginalised by the (education) system.
It's a really good story that has given me great pleasure.
"So to see them having their lives turned around is a great thing."
VCAL is an education program that gives students practical work-related experience, as well as literacy and numeracy skills and the opportunity to build personal skills.
Castlemaine Secondary College teacher Jan Miletic said the students volunteered with more than 27 groups last year.
"All their projects are community orientated whether they are working together or as an individual," she said.
"It's all for their own sake or interest, so it will benefit their careers and pathways.
"Everyone has done different things and done a fantastic job. You can’t pick out one person who has been better than the rest.
"(The program is) about moulding youngsters and showing they have a role in the community to play."
The students have volunteered at Castlemaine Health, Maldon Hospital, raised money for charity, helped organise the Run the Maine event and taken part in Castlemaine's No Meanness anti-bullying campaign.
"A number of kids have made a major contribution," Cr Redden said.
"It's a really good story that has given me great pleasure."
Castlemaine students named young citizen of the year
Cr Redden was also proud of the efforts of the Mount Alexander Shire citizen of the year Mavis Collison.
"She has a lifetime of service through sheer perseverance in so many different organisations."
Ms Collison said the CWA was her favourite group to volunteer with.
"I've lived in the area all my life and will have a go at anything that's going," she said.
"If there's something to be done I believe you should get out there and have a go."