TWO Warilla High School students have been recognised for their leadership skills and role as ambassadors, seeking to leave their school a better place than which they found it.
Selected students from schools throughout Australia were recently awarded the Australian Defence Force Long Tan Leadership and Teamwork Awards for 2013.
Students in years 10 and 12 were recognised with awards of $250 and $550 respectively, along with a certificate of merit.
The school nominated Josh Devall and Kyla Hakkenbrock for the honour, both of which were successful.
The awards, launched in 2006, seek to encourage leadership and teamwork among school-aged students.
Warilla High School head teacher of welfare Michael Stanizzo said the school nominated students who best embodied the leadership qualities sought by the ADF, such as communication skills, leadership, resilience and problem solving.
He said both students were members of the Student Representative Council and prominent school community leaders.
"The initiative they've shown going above and beyond to organise fund-raising events for different charities has been great," he said.
Josh, 16, recently finished year 10.
The teenager has a goal to study engineering at university.
The Flinders teenager felt being a leader came naturally to him.
"I also try to put it out there by helping as many people as I can," he said.
"You have to be more of a role model [to younger students].
"All the juniors, they look up to you and aspire to be like you, and how you act, so you want to be a good influence on them."
Kyla, 18, one of the school's leaders in 2013, recently completed her HSC.
The Barrack Heights student has gained early entry into an advanced degree of Bachelor of Medical Biotechnology at the University of Wollongong.
"[Being a school leader] has helped me grow as a person, to be more mature and organised," she said.
"Seeing other leaders in the past inspires you to do more.
"Hopefully I was a good role model and always had a positive attitude."
St Joseph's Catholic High School, Illawarra Christian School, Shellharbour Anglican College, Lake Illawarra High School, Corpus Christi Catholic High School and Oak Flats High School students also received the award.