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January 26 – Council announces 2013 Citizens of the Year

26 January 2013

Two local citizens have been recognised for their community service and spirit being awarded Citizen of the Year accolades at the Strathfield Council Australia Day celebrations.

Shirley Anne Gillett and Jaycee Bechara, 18, were announced as the recipients of the Citizen and Young of the Year awards respectively today.

The pair were presented with their awards by Mayor of Strathfield, Cr Gulian Vaccari and Australia Day Ambassador Elaine Henry OAM at Strathfield Council’s Australia Day celebrations at Strathfield Park.

Both received their awards in recognition for their extensive community service work, which has not only made a valuable contribution to Strathfield, but also to the wider community.

“Both of these women have dedicated much of their time and energies to helping others and their community spirit makes me proud to have them represent Strathfield as our Citizens of the Year,” Cr Vaccari said.

Citizen of the Year Shirley Anne Gillett was born and raised in Strathfield and has her life to family, church, community and education. Shirley has been a dedicated local secondary teacher and key learning area coordinator for over 40 years. Through St John’s West Strathfield, Shirley has also taught at Sunday school for more than 30 years and contributed her time as an ESL teacher to migrant adults.

In 2012, Shirley received a Community Service Award from the Parliament of Australia for her commitment to teaching English as a second language.

Shirley continues to be an active resident of the Strathfield community and advocate for those in need.

Young Citizen of the Year Jaycee Bechara recently graduated from Santa Sabina College, having been elected as a Social Justice Leader and involved in a number of community service activities.

Jaycee has been involved with community programs including Homework Help at St Joachim’s Primary and Night Patrol at the Matthew Talbot Homeless Centre through St Vincent de Paul. Jaycee also assisted in delivering Christmas hampers to the local area with her parish, St Martha’s Strathfield and is a member of a Youth Advisory Group on Cyber-safety.

Jaycee is looking forward to commencing a Bachelor of Business at the University of Technology, Sydney this year and hopes to one day have her own business that prides itself on Social Corporate Responsibility.

A Strathfield resident, Jaycee values her community service experiences and hopes to continuously encourage others to do the same.