Frankston City’s most inspirational residents were honoured at the Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony and Citizen of the Year Awards today (Sunday 26 January).
Frankston City Council Mayor, Sandra Mayer announced the winners at the Frankston Arts Centre event, where 100 people received their Australian citizenship.
This year’s winners were:
• 2020 Citizen of the Year – Peter Patterson
• 2020 Senior Citizen of the Year – Gina Poulos
• 2020 Young Citizen of the Year – Michaela Goggin
• 2020 Community Event of the Year – National Schools Tree Day (Frankston Heights Primary School and Friends of Wallace Reserve)
“Each year we invite the community to nominate those who have contributed to creating a better Frankston City,” Cr Mayer said.
“This year’s recipients are being awarded for their volunteer work as well as their inspirational achievements.”
Peter Patterson was named 2020 Citizen of the Year for volunteering his time to many local organisations, including the Frankston Susono Friendship Association, which he chaired for 18 years.
“His tireless hard work, dedication and love of this city has made him a very worthy recipient of this award,” Cr Mayer said.
“Under his guidance, the association was transformed into one of the most innovative and robust sister organisations within Australia.”
Mr Patterson said he hoped his contribution demonstrated to others, the difference they could make by volunteering their time to the community.
“If you have a go, you can succeed in things you think are far beyond your capacity,” Mr Patterson said.
“If in my own little way, I’m making a difference for people in the community, then I’m motivated to do more.”
Gina Poulos was awarded the 2020 Senior Citizen of the Year Award for helping the city’s most vulnerable through her emergency foodbank organisation, Theodora’s Cheerful Givers.
With the support of her family and team of dedicated volunteers, Mrs Poulos prepares about 1200 pre-cooked frozen meals and 400 food hampers each week.
“For 17 years this amazing, compassionate, resilient and cheerful citizen has served the community and will continue to do so, which is why she is being recognised here today,” Cr Mayer said.
Mrs Poulos said she was thrilled with the award and had met “some beautiful people,” during her charity work.
“My volunteers make me look good, they pull it all together. I’m over the moon that all the hard work we have put in has been recognised,” Mrs Poulos said.
Frankston High School student Michaela Goggin received the 2020 Young Citizen of the Year Award.
Cr Mayer said Ms Goggin made the world a better place through selfless acts within her school and wider community, including charity work, tutoring refugees and empowering fellow students through the Student Leadership Council.
“Michaela is also a passionate environmental advocate who instigated the creation of a recycling hub at Frankston High Senior Campus,” Cr Mayer said.
“She is an inspiring role model to all of our community’s young citizens and her commitment to make a difference is uplifting.”
Michaela said the positive feedback she received from the families of refugee children she tutored made her volunteering work very rewarding.
The National Schools Tree Day event organised by Frankston Heights Primary School and Friends of Wallace Reserve, took out the 2020 Community Event of the Year award.
Over 13 years, school students, teachers and parents have worked with volunteers from the Friends of Wallace Reserve to plant more than 5500 native trees, shrubs and grasses.
Last year 500 seedlings were planted during the event.
Frankston Heights Primary School Principal Cheryl Clark said Tree Day enabled children to give back to the community and their local environment.
“We are a community minded school and I hope the connections the children make at ‘our reserve’ stay with them. The event is a tradition dear to our hearts,” Mrs Clark said.
School captain Paige Clarke said, “The day is about respecting our environment. The trees help us breathe so the least we can do is help keep our reserve clean and plant some seedlings.”
Gloria Dean from the Friends of Wallace Reserve said her three sons went to Frankston Heights Primary School, which had always cared for the environment.
“It is a pleasure for the group to pass on information about the reserve and native trees to the students,” Mrs Dean said.
Group member David Cross added, “This was a real collaborative effort and we are very proud of our achievements at the reserve.”