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Teen makes necklaces inspired by Australia

Landscapes and places of interest in Australia are the inspiration for the beaded necklaces Bridie Egan has been making.
Her “Ayers Rock” necklace was inspired by the originality of Aboriginal art; “Snowflake” by the beauty of Redman Bluff, and “Sydney Opera House” is based on the glamour of that exotic architectural landmark.
The 16-year-old Corydon Central High School student has seen these things first-hand; as you might guess, she’s from Australia.
Egan’s home is in Calulu, near Melbourne. She’s been in the United States for almost a year as an exchange student on her first trip overseas. First she lived with Adel and Thelma Bichir and their children in Corydon and now with Arthur and Catherine Turcotte and their two daughters in Corydon.
Like most teenagers, Egan wanted to earn some money. And while it’s difficult for teenagers to find employment, it’s even harder for exchange students here for a short time.
Egan learned how to make the necklaces this summer from Thelma Bichir’s sister-in-law.
“I thought it would be a neat thing to learn,” Egan said. “I’ve always loved creative things and making cards.”
She started giving her finished products as gifts. Now, her jewelry is displayed and for sale at Butt Rexall Drug store in Corydon. Included with each necklace is a card that tells what inspired Egan’s design.
Learning her new trade should help Egan reach the second level of the Duke of Edinborough Award. She earned the first level — bronze — last year. She’s working on the silver now; the top level is gold.
Egan said there are four components to the Edinborough award: expeditions, skill, physical recreation and community service.
For physical recreation, Egan will submit her sports involvement in the United States, which included soccer and softball. She played in CCHS’s “Powder Puff” football game in October, and she was a lifeguard last summer.
Finding community service work was easy. Egan volunteered for the YMCA of Harrison County. Host parent Catherine Turcotte is president of the group.
Egan will complete the expedition portion — surviving for several days in the mountains — after she returns home.
Egan is scheduled to return to Australia on Jan. 11. It will be summer there. The week before Christmas she said she was hoping to see snow before leaving the United States. Mother Nature obliged Christmas morning.
Egan would like to return some day to the U.S. and do more sightseeing. Besides the Louisville Metropolitan area, Egan has seen Chicago.
Egan’s necklaces should continue to be available at Butt’s after she returns home. Turcotte told Egan she will continue to help her sell her necklaces here.
“It’s neat how she came to a new country and learned a new skill,” Turcotte said. “She has such a sense of adventure and entrepreneurship.
“I think we could all learn something from that,” she said.