Leada by name and nature

KING Island teenager Leada Blackie has become the first Tasmanian finalist to be named Australian Leo of the Year.

Leada took out the national award at the weekend in Melbourne, impressing the judges in a lengthy interview and wowing the large audience with her prepared speech. Leada was praised for her great confidence and maturity.

The Year 12 student was accompanied by her Leo advisor, and current King Island Lions Club president Linda Payne. “It’s humbling to watch Leada address her audience – this one being larger than the population of Currie,” Mrs Payne said.

“Everyone listens when Leada speaks.” Leada said she was honoured to receive the award. “It was an incredible honour to be recognised for this auspicious award,” she said. “I was so overwhelmed with love, joy and gratitude. I could feel everyone in the community behind me and it just made it that more special.

“I feel incredibly blessed to have been chosen to represent King Island and Tasmania as a whole, as well as the Leo/Lions organisation.” The Leo Club is part of the Lions Australia network. Leos are the youngest members of the organisation and work in their local communities to make them a better place.

There were five state finalists and 17-year-old Leada is the first finalist from Tasmania. “Leada had some stiff competition but shone through with her engaging personality and ability to connect with people of all ages,” Mrs Payne said. “Definitely Leada by name and by nature.

She’s a credit to her family, her school and to King Island. “Lions welcomes the opportunity to mentor young people and will find opportunities for them all to shine, regardless of ability.” Leo stands for “Leadership Experience Opportunity”. It is hoped their involvement makes them contributing members of society throughout their lives.

Contestants were interviewed on World events and current affairs, knowledge of the Lions and Leo organisations. Their application lists all the community service activities they are involved in – Leada is also Australia Day King Island Young Citizen of the Year 2022.

She has a role on the Premier’s Youth Advisory Council. She works part time and is completing Year 12 studies through KIDHS. Finalists give a five-minute prepared speech. Leada based her speech on the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

Leada has been accepted into the Australian Defence Force Academy, following in her parents’ footsteps.

The Leo of the Year title comes with a substantial cash prize and an allowance to travel by invitation to Australia wide Lions/Leo events. Leada will serve one year on the Leo Advisory Panel with her fellow contestants, then will chair the same panel in her second year.

Incoming King Island Lions Club president Ira Cooke was also thrilled with the result. “We are incredibly pleased and congratulate Leada and the King Island Leo Club. “I look forward to watching Leada and what she achieves in the future,” Mr Cooke said.

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