Growing up on the water in Nelson Bay, a beach side town 40 minutes north of Newcastle, Katrina Harris was unsure of her future career path.
But four years after graduating high school and receiving an ADF Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award, she is now enjoying a career as an Able Seaman Marine Technician in the Royal Australian Navy.
“My dad was a clearance diver and it turns out that it was a big influence on me joining,” she said.
Katrina joined the Navy in September 2012, after two years of casual work and travelling, graduating Recruit School at HMAS Cerberus in the November.
“When I graduated Category School I was posted straight to HMAS Sydney. In the future I wish to stay at sea and post to another frigate.
“I would also like to go back to recruit school as a Leading Seaman and instruct, but other then that I haven’t looked too far into my career just take it one day at a time and see where it takes me,” she said.
Able Seaman Harris had a perfect opportunity to reflect on life in the navy when on 13 December she returned to her alma mater, Tomaree High School, to present, rather than receive, an ADF Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Award.
Year Ten student, Danielle Brennan, was the recipient of the honour, that recognises those who display strong values, such as doing one’s best, respect for others and ‘mateship’, characteristics that are integral to Australian society.
“It gives me great pleasure to be able to present this award to the younger generation at my old high school,” Able Seaman Harris said.
“I’ve served just over two years in the Royal Australian Navy and have been lucky enough to have represented Navy in Rugby Union and Netball and now get to represent the Navy in presenting this award.”
“I have enjoyed nearly every moment and although times do get tough being away from family and friends back home, you make some amazing new friends that you’ll have for life.
“Some of the experiences I’ve had already I will never forget. I enjoy being in the Navy and the opportunities it’s given me, I’m interested to see what is next to come,” she said.
The ADF Long Tan Youth Leadership and Teamwork Awards started in 2006 to recognise students who demonstrate leadership and teamwork within both the school and the broader local community.
For more information on the awards visit http://www.adflongtanawards.gov.au.