School accepts prestigious trophy

Booleroo Centre District School (BCDS) was last week awarded the Prince Albert Trophy in recognition of the role it has played in the path of former student, 2021 Rhodes Scholar Justin Clarke.

Justin, with Education Minister John Gardner and other dignitaries, visited the school for a special assembly to present the prestigious award.

The purpose of the visit was to encourage young people to strive for perfection and realise that the “qualities most needed for progress are intelligence, good health, courage, stamina and kindliness”.

They are all qualities that Justin Clarke has shown throughout his schooling and study as well as during a 56-senior game AFL career at the Brisbane Lions.

The Prince Albert Trophy will be displayed by BCDS as a school of a Queensland Rhodes Scholar for the year.

A student at Booleroo from 1999-2011, Justin was a Premier’s Anzac Sprit prize winner, travelling to France to attend a dawn service on the Western Front, he won two Long Tan prizes, was student representative council president and schoolhouse captain, and finished secondary school with an ATAR or 99.95.

He completed a double degree, Bachelor of Engineering (honours, mechanics of aerospace engineers) and Bachelor of Science (mathematics) in 2020.

Justin is now preparing to travel to the United Kingdom where he will undertake his Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University, based in the Thermofluids Institute.

Speaking to current students at BCDS last week, Justin recognised the huge role the school had played in shaping him and encouraged them to “dream big”, just as he had been encouraged to by teachers at the school – six of whom are still on the teaching staff.

BCDS principal John Blackburn said Justin was an inspiration to students and staff.

“Justin is the first and hopefully not the last of our students to achieve such a prestigious honour as a Rhodes scholarship,” he said.

“It is fair to say, that behind his achievement were his family, school, community and peers.

“Given that our school motto is to ‘Strive to Excel’, Justin’s achievement provides our students with a tangible example of what excellence means. It fuels their trust that the education they receive at this school can, and will produce great results.”

Mr Gardner congratulated Justin and the school on the outstanding achievement.

“Justin carried out all his schooling at Booleroo Centre which set him on this path of academic excellence,” he said.

“I’m sure having the Prince Albert Trophy on display at his former school will inspire current students to strive for success and act as a wonderful reminder that with hard work and passion you can achieve incredible things.”