Everyone - even criminals - deserve to be given a second chance, says Holly McCarthy.
Following graduation next year, the 17-year-old plans to involve herself with the pursuit of justice and the law.
First via a degree in law and political sciences through the Australian National University, and then, she hopes through a career with the Australian Federal Police.
"I've always had an interest in social justice, and my parents would say I'm good at arguing," Holly said.
"I think that people deserve to be heard, to have a fair trial and they have the right to get a second chance."
The Mater Dei Catholic College year 11 student has recently been named as this year's Charles Huoen Memorial Scholarship recipient.
The scholarship was established to honour of the memory of a former Wagga lawyer and charter member of Sunrise Rotary.
Charles Huoen died in 2008, whereupon the scholarship was founded as his legacy. It allows for the recipient to access $500 for law-based extra curricula involvement during their HSC year, and a further $1000 delivered upon completion of one year of tertiary law studies.
"[Holly] is very well involved with the community, she's always had a keen interest in law and has taken work experience at local law firms and at the courthouse," said David Brady, the youth director of the Rotary group.
Holly's interest in the social justice side of law developed recently through her involvement with the YMCA Youth Parliament.
"I was on the justice committee and we made a bill on the open prison system and presented it to the minister [for corrections]," Holly said.
"We wanted to create a way for criminals who had done a summary offence to be able to come back into society. The statistics show that people who go to jail are more likely to return, so this is a way for them to still be in prison but to be out working and supporting themselves.
"We discussed whether they would partner with companies or go into trades, but we decided they should be able to choose their own jobs because they will be more likely to keep the job if they enjoy it.
"This is a stepping stone to life outside prison, and it's a human right to choose your own job."
In between volunteering for a variety of Riverina-based charities including Legacy, the Cancer Council, the Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul, Holly spends most of her time away from school at her job at the Wagga Farm Gate Butcher in Mangoplah.
"Having this money means I can take a bit of time off work to go to seminars for history and legal studies in Sydney," Holly said.
"It's going to help me buy resources like extra textbooks to help me get my head around areas of the law I'll need to know."
"We look for that balance, not just someone who is head in a book all day," Mr Brady said.
"Holly is not just a book worm, she's also a Scouts member, involved with musical theatre and a viola player in the eisteddfod."