Image above – 2017 Nanga Mai Awards winners
The Nanga Mai Awards celebrate innovation, excellence and achievement in Aboriginal education within NSW public schools and school communities.
The award ceremony featured keynote speech from Riley Court-Bennett, a baker turned University of New South Wales medical student who is on his way to being a GP in remote communities.
Tempe High School's Mundarrah Welsh-Jarrett was the MC 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 (pictured below left).
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:
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
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
Award for Outstanding Contribution to Educational Achievement by an Aboriginal Staff member: Eli Cook - Ballina Public School
Award for Outstanding Contribution to Educational Achievement by a Non-Aboriginal Staff Member: Darren Woodhouse - Callaghan College, Waratah Technology Campus
Award for Outstanding Leadership in Aboriginal Education: Patricia Leverett - Bankstown Public School
Award for Outstanding Leadership in Aboriginal Languages: Kayleen Kerwin - Menindee Central School
Award for Outstanding School and Community Partnership: Currans Hill Public School
Award for Outstanding Commitment to Increasing Knowledge and Understanding of Aboriginal Histories, Culture and Experiences of Aboriginal People: Alison Johnstone
Director's meritorious Award - Love of Learning Award: Graham Kahabka