A Lake Macquarie High School student will be Australia’s sole young ambassador at a ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii this week.
Millie Sarginson, 16, will join national youth ambassadors from America and Japan at a Friendship Ceremony aboard the USS Missourion December 7.
“The Friendship Ceremony will be a memorial ceremony to commemorate that the war happened, and should never happen again,” Ms Sarginson said.
The three young representatives will co-host the ceremony aboard the famous battleship.
They will give speeches and present student-made documentaries to their audience of military officials.
It will be the culmination of nine months of work for Millie and six of her fellow year 10 students at Lake Macquarie High.
I've got a burning interest in modern history.- Student Millicent Sarginson
The all-girl group of history students took on the major project of researching and producing documentaries on the theme of war and peace in the Pacific. The project was hosted by the Australian National Maritime Museum, in Sydney.
The Lake Macquarie girls’ documentary covered the shelling of Newcastle and the mini-submarine attacks in Sydney during World War II.
Students at the participating schools could nominate an ambassador to be Australia’s representative in Hawaii – and Miss Sarginson was chosen.
She was interviewed, and tested on her knowledge of the Pearl Harbor bombing, and asked why she thought the Friendship Ceremony was a worthwhile project.
The ceremony will be the highlight of a busy week-long program for Miss Sarginson.
“Over seven days we get to visit different key World War II sites, to give us a more in-depth understanding of what happened,” she said.
“The purpose is to help us, as young students, to make the connection between our three countries.”
She’ll be staying in Waikiki, with packed daily schedules that start at 5am and finish at 9pm.
But Ms Sarginson isn’t daunted by the prospect.
“I’ve got a burning interest in modern history,” she said.
“I think it will be a really insightful experience. I’m looking forward to just being in the moment at the site at which it all took place, and talking to the people who were involved in it, first hand.”
She also looking forward to meeting the young US and Japanese ambassadors, who are also 16-year-old girls.
She’ll be accompanied on the journey by her principal Brendan Maher.
On the last night of their stay, the Australian contingent will be among a select few who will get to sleep aboard the USS Missouri.