A Bendigo teenager has made it to the final of an Australia-wide youth award.
Bendigo Senior Secondary School student Kelly Phan will go up against young people from across the country at the Lions Youth of the Year final, to be held in Echuca on May 16.
“It means so much to have gotten this far in Lions Youth of the Year, mostly because I never thought I could do it,” Kelly said.
“In comparison to the other contestants, I am certainly not the most accomplished or talented one there.
“However, I've learned to not underestimate my capabilities, and that a leader isn't just one type of person.”
To reach the national final, Kelly had to win four other stages, from club level through to state level.
Local Youth of the Year co-ordinator Ross Wood said competition had been strong and the young people Kelly had been up against in the regional final had been a “very high-class field”.
“She’s done a very, very good job,” Mr Wood said.
At the state final Kelly delivered a speech on the importance of revolutionising and adapting the education system to the 21st century.
Youth of the Year aims to encourage interest in leadership and other citizenship qualities in youth.
Judges look for a high level of academic, leadership, sporting, public speaking and citizenship achievement in the candidates.
All national finalists win a group tour to a Lions International Youth Camp at Rotorua, New Zealand, followed by a group tour to the national winner’s home state, with $500 spending money each.
The national winner will also win an overseas trip to the destination of their choice, valued at $4000, plus $1000 spending money.
A public speaking winner will also be named, who will receive a $2000 trip plus $500 spending money.
Kelly is sponsored by the Bendigo Lions Club.
“She’s a fantastic ambassador for Bendigo and youth,” Mr Wood said.