Year 10 student Demi Schaper was recently awarded The Premier’s Spirit of Democracy (PSoD) Award.

This award gives 22 students throughout Victoria, the unique opportunity to participate in a week-long immersive study tour in Melbourne and Canberra in mid-April, where students can develop a greater understanding of civics and citizenship and the role Ancient Greece played in the origins of Australian democracy, which has helped shape contemporary society.

To be selected Demi submitted artwork and a supporting statement that explored the ability of young people to drive change, by drawing on classical Greek thinkers.

Demi said that her artwork elaborates on themes that reflect the channel to change within Australian parliament, including a historical issue by a leader in the national community.

“I chose Prime Minister Julia Gillard AC, who on 9 October 2012 delivered her famous misogyny speech in parliament to the opposition leader Tony Abbott AC,” she said.

“Ms Gillard’s speech highlighted her experience of misogyny and has since inspired women and girls everywhere.”

“My work was inspired by Classical Greek pottery, which often depicted scenes from stories of Greek mythology. I utilised similar design elements and artistic principles to convey the significance of the event.”

“Ms Gillard is represented as Athena the Greek Goddess of Wisdom and Battle Strategy, which I believe reflects Ms Gillard’s passionate delivery, and further represents parliament today where women have representation but advances in equality need to be made,” she said.

At age 6 Demi was present in parliament for this historical speech and Demi’s mother Peta believes the discussions their family had following this event, highlighted its significance and what it means for all Australians, especially young women.

Demi said that she is looking forward to the study tour, where I will meet other like-minded students and she is keen to share her experiences with family, friends, classmates and teachers.

“I hope to learn about the similarities and ties that Australian democracy has with Ancient Greece and how Greek philosophy, the arts, modern civic studies, court processes and politics have influenced modern democracy in Victoria and Australia.”

Damascus College Principal Mr Steven Mifsud endorsed a statement from her teacher adviser as part of the application process, which said that Demi is an outstanding student, she has demonstrated a high level of organisation towards her study and has an incredible work ethic and level of maturity.