Narrandera High School student Lilly Hewitt has been recognised with an award from the Australian Olympic Committee.
The Pierre de Coubertin awards ceremony was held last weekend in Sydney, where Lilly was lucky enough to attend a series of workshops with Australian Olympians, before receiving her award from Australian Winter Olympic snowboarding silver medallist Jarryd Hughes.
“Lilly was nominated by one of her teachers at school,” explained her father Craig Hewitt. “They took 100 kids from across the state, who participate in all kinds of sports. You’ve got to meet certain criteria; you’ve got be an excellent athlete, you’ve got to do well academically. She also had to write and submit an essay.”
The Pierre de Coubertin awards, named after the Frenchman who founded the modern Olympic Games, are designed to recognise senior students who embody the values of the Games.
Lilly’s athletic excellence, coupled with her fantastic attitude and sportsmanship, earmarked her as an ideal candidate.
“We’re very proud of Lilly, and how she handles herself. She’s very modest. We tell her that you don’t go out there expecting to win, you go out there knowing you can. And if you don’t win, you have the same attitude,” Mr Hewitt said. “She does exceptionally well at school and exceptionally well at sports – she’s still the State champion for shot put.
“Last year she broke a record at every single carnival she attended. She broke a discus record at the school that was over 30 years old.
“We’re taking her down to Sydney once a month; she’s in a targeted training program. She goes down once a month with her coach for specialised training. She trains in Wagga with her coach as well. After she had her first session with him, he asked that we bring her back, as he wanted to train her,” Mr Hewitt said.
Lilly is also involved in Little Athletics, not only competing for herself but also coaching and volunteering with the younger members.
The Pierre de Coubertin awards have been offered in NSW since 1993. All secondary government and non-government schools are invited to nominate one recipient from year 10, 11 or 12 for the Pierre de Coubertin Award each year. Each nominee must participate actively in the school’s physical education program with a consistently positive attitude and must have represented the school in a sport.
Plenty of former Pierre de Coubertin award winners have gone on to be the tops in their field, with notable athletes such as Rio Olympic Gold Medallists Kim Brennan (rowing) and Evania Pelite (rugby 7s), and Bronze Medallist Cameron McEvoy (swimming).
Baron Pierre de Coubertin was born in Paris in 1863 and was personally involved in fencing, rowing and cycling. He regularly visited English ‘public’ schools, which resulted in a lifelong interest in trying to get the heavily academic French schools to take up more sports-oriented learning programs. As an educational theorist, de Coubertin was convinced of the importance of sport for the development of the individual.