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Aboriginal excellence on display at Nanga Mai awards

The 2018 Nanga Mai Awards were announced today highlighting the outstanding achievements of 17 Aboriginal students along with the work of nine teachers and community leaders.

Dylan Barnes holds his award at the Nanga Mai ceremony

High achiever: Dylan Barnes

A high school student who has fast-tracked his way to university and a young primary school boy who has worked consistently hard to raise his literacy levels are just two of the State’s Aboriginal students singled out for recognition today.

Dylan Barnes from Brisbane Water Secondary College, Woy Woy Campus and Cody Antaw from Cambridge Gardens Public School, were among 17 outstanding students honoured at the 2018 Nanga Mai awards.

They joined nine dedicated teachers and community leaders who were also recognised at the award ceremony held at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo today.

Dylan, who received the Academic Excellence Award, last year completed his Business Studies HSC exam while in Year 11 along with a tertiary-level subject at Macquarie University. The strength of his results saw him offered a place in the university’s Law School for 2019.

Cody received the Encouragement Award for maintaining an excellent attendance record while working hard to improve his grades in literacy and mathematics. As a result Cody has made great progress in his English results.

The Secretary of the NSW Department of Education, Mark Scott, said the Nanga Mai awards were one of the most significant events in the department’s calendar.

“Nanga Mai is an Eora word, which means ‘to dream’, and at these awards we celebrate and acknowledge students, staff and community members who have made tremendous contributions to Aboriginal education,” Mr Scott said.

“I am particularly pleased to see the the diversity in the contributions being made to Aboriginal education – from performing arts and mentoring, through to sports and languages.

“This diversity recognises that all our students are different and take a unique pathway through school, and it is the department’s job to make that pathway as engaging and supportive as possible.

“Congratulations to the 2018 Nanga Mai award recipients, who have each made an outstanding effort to maintain Aboriginal culture and to bring understanding of that culture to others, or who have taken dedicated steps to grow and develop as people.”

The award ceremony featured Aboriginal student performances from the Aboriginal Vocal Identification Program, Adamstown Public School Aboriginal Dance Group and the Gili Dancers, whose inaugural group of 18 students were selected from more than 175 applicants.

The Nanga Mai Awards are sponsored by the Aboriginal Education Council (NSW), University of Technology Sydney, Macquarie University, CQUniversity, Teachers Mutual Bank and Mattel. The NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group is an award partner.

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