WIMMERA teen Charlotte Frost is one of 12 Victorians to win this year’s Premier’s Spirit of Anzac Prize.
The St Brigid’s College student, 14, will tour First World War battlefield sites with fellow winners in April.
Destinations include Gallipoli, the Western Front and Lemnos, Greece.
National Centre for Australian Studies director Bruce Scates will guide the group.
He is an expert on the First World War.
“I just really want to learn, about the First World War especially,” Charlotte said.
“We will be going to lots of places that are very historic and iconic – there is going to be so much I can learn.
“It’s going to be amazing to have someone who knows so much about what they are teaching with us.”
Charlotte received the award from Premier Denis Napthine and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Hugh Delahunty on Friday, at Parliament House.
She was humbled by the achievement.
“Getting an interview, I felt, would have been enough,” she said.
About 500 people entered the competition this year, a record number.
Entrants were asked to discuss the relevance of the Anzac spirit to Australian life.
Charlotte chose to express herself in an essay.
“I talked about a boy soldier from Waverley, in Sydney, who possessed the Anzac qualities,” she said.
“He was basically my age, and he fought in the battle of Lone Pine.
“Then I moved on to say how other Australians possessed these qualities.”
Top-performing entrants were subsequently interviewed.
“It was stiff competition,” Charlotte said.
She drew inspiration from previous Premier’s Spirit of Anzac prize winners Gracie Ostapiw and Jenny van Veldhuisen, also from the Wimmera.
But it was her hunger for knowledge which propelled her.
“I think we need to have a good understanding of our nation’s history,” Charlotte said.
“It’s interesting to know where you come from, as well as what the culture was like back then.
“It’s also good to pay your respects, in that you don’t stand ignorant of where you come from.”
Mr Delahunty said the trip would ensure Anzac stories were kept alive within younger generations.
“It seems particularly significant as we enter the Anzac Centenary period of 2014 to 2018 – a time when all Victorians are encouraged to commemorate the First World War in personally meaningful ways,” he said.
Entries are now open for the 2014-15 prize.
Mr Delahunty encouraged all eligible students to visit www.veterans.vic.gov.au for details.