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  • Southside

Stepaside teen is nominated for top community award

Wednesday, 27th February, 2019 1:00pm
Stepaside teen is nominated for top community award

Benat Broderick (15) has made the shortlist for the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards 2019.

Stepaside teen is nominated for top community award

Benat Broderick (15) has made the shortlist for the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards 2019.

Gabija Gataveckaite

A TEENAGE schoolboy from Stepaside has been nominated for a prestigious community award.

Benat Broderick (15) who lives in Blackrock, has been placed in the top 20 shortlist for the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards 2019.

The award aims to “give schools an effective way to congratulate deserving young volunteers and to hold them up as role models for other young people,” according to its website.

Broderick is a cystic fibrosis campaigner across Ireland and UK.

“I was very surprised,” he told the Southside People.

“I was in the hospital for an appointment when I got the news that I shortlisted,” he remembered.

“I was amazed when I realised that I got nominated for the top 20, especially since other people that were nominated had done more than me,” he added.

Broderick attends Stepaside Educate Together Secondary School and is currently in his third year.

He is a campaigner for cystic fibrosis (CF) awareness and has campaigned for the drug Orkambi in the UK, where it is not readily available.

“There’s lots of misconceptions about CF. People don’t understand it fully and there’s loads of false information,” he explained.

“If I’m out in public coughing, people think I have the flu or think it’s contagious. The life expectancy now is longer and people live beyond 40.

“Over 1,300 people in Ireland have it, which is one of the largest amounts in the world per capita,” he added.

The schoolboy was nominated for the award by his principal Barbara Mulhall at Stepaside Educate Together Secondary School.

“He’s a great kid, we’ve always been very proud of him. He’s very informed and informs us in return and he’s very brave,” she commented.

When asked if she was surprised that he got the nomination, she said: “I wasn’t surprised at all.

“I would have been disappointed if he didn’t get a nomination - he’s an exceptional student,” she added.

“We have a Certificate of Achievement that we award for Social Action at the end of every year and he was awarded that at the end of last year and he was very proud and happy to receive it,” she said.

The youngster’s advocacy has hit national headlines and he has written articles for the Irish Times, the Irish Independent, as well as given interviews for the BBC and RTÉ.

When Minister for Transport, Sport and Tourism Shane Ross heard about Broderick’s activism, he invited him to government buildings.

“I got a tour of Leinster House and had lunch there too,” Broderick said.

But the teenager doesn’t think that he will pursue politics when he’s older.

“I want to keep going with the activism and I’m looking to be a broadcaster or a journalist,” he said.

However, his principal thinks different.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up in politics,” she said.

“He is very involved in the school newsletter, we do a lot of active-based learning in school and make videos and he’s very good at that. We have a climate change march soon and he’s also very involved in that,” she added.

The awards are on March 29 in the Aviva Stadium and the teenager will be attending with his family and principal.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here