Nanga Mai Awards celebrate Aboriginal success

Bridget Cama

A musically talented student who wants to study law, a young performer who teaches traditional dance and an inspired teacher who instils cultural pride in her students are some of the people recognised at an awards ceremony celebrating Aboriginal educational achievement.

The NSW Schools Nanga Mai Awards recognise innovation, excellence and achievement in Aboriginal education in New South Wales public schools, school communities and the education department offices.

Nanga Mai is an Eora word meaning "to dream".

The director of Aboriginal education and community engagement Jascenta Sabatino said the Nanga Mai Awards "are an important opportunity to recognise the outstanding achievement and contribution our students, staff and schools make to Aboriginal education".

"The calibre of recipients this year showcases the skill, dedication and talent across NSW and all nominees should be congratulated," Ms Sabatino said.

The Nanga Mai Awards were presented recently at a ceremony at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

AUDIO

Listen to four of the award recipients discuss their achievements, motivations and aspirations.

Award for Outstanding Contribution to Educational Achievement by an Aboriginal Staff Member
Meryn Murray, a teacher at Curran Public School in Macquarie Fields, talks about why she entered teaching, her successes and why she believes cultural pride is important to instil in her students.

Link to MP3 audio: https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/media/downloads/about-us/news-at-det/news/yr2013/meryn-murray.mp3

Outstanding Student Participation Award
Bridget Cama is a Year 12 student at Lithgow High School. She is the winner of the 2012 Blue Mountains Law Society Award for Legal Studies and has been part of the Talent Development Project, which focuses on developing the skills of musically accomplished young people.

Link to MP3 audio: https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/media/downloads/about-us/news-at-det/news/yr2013/bridget-cama.mp3

Student Leadership Award
Connor Floyd is in Year 12 at Alstonville High School. In addition to his duties as school captain, Connor represents his school on the NSW Schools Constitutional Convention and was the recipient of the NSW Legal Aid Scholarship in 2012/13.

Link to MP3 audio: https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/media/downloads/about-us/news-at-det/news/yr2013/connor-floyd.mp3

Outstanding Achievement in Performing, Creative and Visual Arts

Dillon Eldridge is a Year 12 student at Merrylands High School and is a leader in the school's Aboriginal dance group. He discusses how dance keeps him connected with his culture, and his work teaching students traditional dance at schools in his area.

Link to MP3 audio: https://www.det.nsw.edu.au/media/downloads/about-us/news-at-det/news/yr2013/dillon-eldridge.mp3

Other Nanga Mai Award recipients

Encouragement Award

Emma Williams- Bowral Public School

Encouragement Award

Jarrod Roberts- Seven Hills Public School

Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sport

Mariah Williams - Hunter Sports High School

Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sport

Amanda Fowler - Endeavour Sports High School

Student Leadership Award
Sharni Wilson - Westport High School

Student Leadership Award
Bruce Terare- Brisbane Waters Secondary College - Woy Woy Campus

Outstanding Achievement in Performing, Creative and Visual Arts Award
Owen Cannings- Woonona High School

Public Speaking Award
Dempsey Bloom- Campbelltown Performing Arts High School

Outstanding Student Participation Award
Marni Reti- Tempe High School

Award for Outstanding Contribution to Educational Achievement by a Community Member
Bernard McLeod- Illawarra and South East Region - Vincentia School Community

School/Community Partnership Award
Muswellbrook South Public School – 'Warrae Wanni' - School Readiness Program, Hunter/Central Coast Region

Outstanding Regional Innovation Award
Sydney Region - Koori Art Expressions

Award for Outstanding Contribution to Educational Achievement by a Non-Aboriginal Staff Member
DeborahSummerhayes- Cranebrook High School

Photo: Bridget Cama, a Year 12 student at Lithgow High School, performing at the 2013 Nanga Mai Awards. Photo by Amanda James.

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