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2017 Nanga Mai Awards

Celebrating innovation, excellence and achievement in Aboriginal education in NSW public schools and school communities.

Academically successful students, confident leaders, talented performing artists and outstanding sportspeople are among the 17 student winners of this year's Nanga Mai Awards.

They joined eight dedicated teachers and community leaders who were also recognised at the award ceremony held in Sydney on 28 March.

The Nanga Mai Awards celebrate innovation, excellence and achievement in Aboriginal education within NSW public schools and school communities.

The award ceremony featured an inspiring keynote speech from Riley Court-Bennett, a baker turned University of New South Wales medical student who is on his way to realising his dreams of being a GP in remote communities.

Tempe High School's Mundarrah Welsh-Jarrett was the Master of Ceremonies and there were performances from Alexandria Park Community School's choir, The Sapphires; Newtown Performing Arts High School student Olivia Fox; and Chifley Public School's Chifley Boys Didge Group.

Michele Hall, the Department's Executive Director of Aboriginal Education and Communities, said the winners were selected from a talented pool of applicants, and the judges had a tough job.

"This is a great achievement by our award winners and I offer them my warmest congratulations," she said.

The Nanga Mai Awards are held annually and are supported by the Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc (NSW) and the Aboriginal Education Council.

The word Nanga Mai is an Eora (Sydney) word meaning to dream.

2017 Nanga Mai Award winners

Student awards

Encouragement  Award

  • Michellie Bevis – Austral Public School
  • Tabitha Galvin – Bonalbo Central School
  • Coen Everard Towers-Carter – Lithgow High School
  • Teliyah Hickey – Walgett Community College High School

Outstanding Student Engagement Award

  • John Brady- Corowa – The Rivers Secondary College, Richmond River High Campus

Outstanding Achievement in Sport Award

  • Marli Bateman – Nambucca Heads Public School
  • Kayla Smith – Finley High School

Outstanding achievement in Performing/Creative/Visual Arts Award

  • Olivia Talbott – Oak Flats Public School
  • Ngali Shaw – Dubbo College Delroy Campus

Outstanding Achievement in Public Speaking Award

  • Kiraban Ingrey – Banksmeadow Public School
  • Ethan Towns – Cambridge Gardens Public School

Student Leadership Award

  • Benjamin Williams – Chatham High School
  • Emily Backhouse – Mount Annan High School

Academic Excellence Award

  • Mia Thom – Byron Bay High School

Highest Achieving Aboriginal Student in the 2016 HSC

  • Jessica Buhagiar – Byron Bay High School

Staff awards

  • Eli Cook – Ballina Public School
    Award for Outstanding Contribution to Educational Achievement by an Aboriginal Staff member
  • Darren Woodhouse – Callaghan College, Waratah Technology Campus
    Award for Outstanding Contribution to Educational Achievement by a Non-Aboriginal Staff Member
  • Patricia Leverett – Bankstown Public School
    Award for Outstanding Leadership in Aboriginal Education
  • Kayleen Kerwin – Menindee Central School
    Award for Outstanding Leadership in Aboriginal Languages

School/community awards

  • Currans Hill Public School – Award for Outstanding School and Community Partnership
  • Alison Johnstone – Award for Outstanding Commitment to Increasing Knowledge and Understanding of Aboriginal Histories, Culture and Experiences of Aboriginal People
  • Graham Kahabka – Director's meritorious Award – Love of Learning Award

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