Justin chosen for battle-site tour
SOUTHERN Cross School K-12 student Justin Keith is one of 20 students in the State to be selected for a 2012 Premier's Anzac Memorial Scholarships which will see him tour battle sites in Vietnam later this year.
Justin, 16, said it meant a lot to him to be chosen for the two-week tour with nine other scholarship recipients.
The Year 11 student is a Cadet Under Officer with the Lismore-based 326 Australian Air Force Cadet unit and was also a recipient of a scholarship handed out last year by the Ballina branch of the RAAF Association.
Justin has paraded formally at memorial services in Ballina, and said he does get emotional when reflecting on Australians who lost their lives in battle.
In Vietnam, he will be escorted by a veteran who will take the scholarship recipients on a tour of former Australian bases and battlefields in the south-east Asian country, including a tour of the tunnel networks and war cemeteries.
He plans to speak to some local Vietnam veterans about their experiences before he leaves. The date hasn't been set.
"As a young person, I'd like to foster the growth of the spirit of the Anzacs," he said.
"I've had relatives who have been in war, I've met a number of serving soldiers with being in the cadets and life's not easy over there.
"It doesn't take much to commemorate what those people have done so we can live the lives we live now."
Justin has recently applied to attend the Australian Defence Force Academy and hopes, when he finishes school, to achieve his lifelong ambition to join the Royal Australian Air Force.
The Year 10 and 11 students in the scholarship program were selected for their commitment to the study of Australian history, and for their passion and involvement in maintaining the Anzac tradition in their communities.
The students are required to submit a project on their tour.