Nanga Mai Awards: torchbearers light the way

The innovation, excellence and achievement of Aboriginal students, school staff and community members were recognised at the fifth annual NSW Schools' Nanga Mai Awards.

Twenty-three winners received awards at the event, which this year attracted Evonne Goolagong Cawley as keynote speaker and included a new category recognising Aboriginal student leadership in public speaking.

The department's deputy director-general, schools, Greg Prior said the awards reflected the "key principles" at the heart of the NSW Aboriginal Education and Training Policy, the NSW Aboriginal Education and Training Strategy, and the Partnership Agreement between the department and the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc.

"The students being honoured are members of a generation of young Aboriginal people that will have a major impact on the expectations and experiences of following generations," Mr Prior said.

"They are torch bearers, illuminating the way ahead for others to follow.

"The beauty of these awards is that they focus not only on the young who are learning, but on those who are their guides, their teachers, their mentors.

"The Elders and community members, and Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal teaching and non-teaching staff, who are receiving awards today, are being honoured for their continued, respective efforts in making either valuable cultural, personal and/or professional contributions to NSW education."

Kodi Lane, a Year 11 student at Dubbo Seconday College Senior campus, received an award for Outstanding Achievement in Performing, Creative and Visual Arts and performed at the awards function with his mother, Sharon Lane.

Kodi, now aged 16, has won numerous awards within the country music industry since the age of seven.

He co-wrote a song called Back it up, which is used as a promotional tool aimed at disadvantaged young people in remote areas, about change and a young person's attitude about life today and the future.

Kodi has previously been recognised for his impressive academic achievements and has received an Indigenous Youth Leadership Scholarship.

The Nanga Mai Awards, which take their name from the Eora name "to dream", were held last week at Sydney's Maritime Museum.

NSW Schools Nanga Mai Awards

Montana Wink, Year 7 in 2010

Robert Townson High School, South Western Sydney region

Encouragement Award

Patrick Logan, Year 4 in 2010

Bowral Public School, Illawarra and South East region

Encouragement Award

Shania Bernie, Year 6 in 2010

Batemans Bay Public School, Illawarra and South East region

Encouragement Award

David Dixon, Year 9 in 2010

Bega High School, Illawarra and South East region

Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sport

Simone Smith, Year 11 in 2010

Westport High School, North Coast region

Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sport

Kyla Williams, Year 10 in 2010

Hunter School of the Performing Arts, Hunter/Central Coast region

Outstanding Achievement in Performing, Creative and Visual Arts

Kodi Lane, Year 10 in 2010

Dubbo College Senior campus, Western region

Outstanding Achievement in Performing, Creative and Visual Arts

Kingsley Dennison, Year 11 in 2010

Endeavour Sports High School, Sydney region

Student Leadership Award

Tamika Briggs, Year 10 in 2010

Campbelltown Performing Arts High School, South Western Sydney region

Student Leadership Award

Shahni Wellington, Year 11 in 2010

Gorokan High School, Hunter/Central Coast region

Student Leadership Award

Bianca Manning, Year 9 in 2010

Kotara High School, Hunter/Central Coast region

Academic Excellence Award - School Certificate

Ryan Cruikshanks, Year 10 in 2010

Moss Vale High School, Illawarra and South East region

Academic Excellence Award - School Certificate

Blake Stuart, Year 12 in 2010

Wagga Wagga High School, Illawarra and South East region

Academic Excellence Award - Higher School Certificate

Keziah Bennett-Brook, Year 12 in 2010

Keira High School - Illawarra and South East region

Academic Excellence Award - Higher School Certificate

Outstanding Achievement in Public Speaking Award

Ainslie Orcher, Year 9 in 2010

Northern Beaches Secondary College

Mackellar Girls campus, Northern Sydney region

Outstanding Achievement in Public Speaking Award

Jennifer Saunders

James Fallon High School, Riverina region

Award for Outstanding Contribution to Educational Achievement by a non-Aboriginal staff member

Tanya Flanders

Induna School, North Coast region

Award for Outstanding Contribution to Educational Achievement by an Aboriginal staff member

Aunty Gwen Griffen

Gunnedah High School, New England region

Award for Outstanding Contribution to Educational Achievement by a Community Member

Clarence Valley Industry Education Forum

North Coast region

Outstanding Regional Innovation Award

Quirindi High School/Mooki Murris

New England region

School/Community Partnership Award

Lesley Armstrong

Gorokan High School, Hunter/Central Coast region

Recognition of Service to Aboriginal Student Achievement in Public Education Award

Gorokan High School

Hunter/Central Coast region

Outstanding School Award

Uncle Wes Marne

Western Sydney region

Love of Learning Award

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