NSW/ACT Young Achiever Awards

2016 Finalists

The Aboriginal Education Council Aboriginal Education Award

Joshua Celi, 23 of Estella is a proud Wiradjuri man and an enthusiastic first year teacher at Coolamon Central School. He coached the NAIDOC debating team to state champions and has developed Aboriginal education and cultural initiatives. Joshua led the implementation of the Rural and Remote Literacy Program at his School. He is a founding member of Coolamon Central School’s Multicultural Education Committee and developed a program for disengaged boys and girls with low self-esteem. Joshua is also a member of the Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group

Carlie Gemmell, 26 of Glenfield Park works as a Future Moves School Outreach Officer, supporting the engagement of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds into higher education. She has a Bachelor of Media and Communications and a Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language Culture and Heritage. Carlie has developed educational programs to support the teaching of local language skills, including a handbook of language activities entitled "Wiradjuri basics for Teachers and Students". She also supports the Danygamalanha project, a program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with workshops, camps and mentoring by Indigenous role models

Jo-Anne Hurwitz, 29 of Waverton leads personal development and leadership camps for Indigenous youth, promoting leadership, empowerment, teamwork skills and self-respect. Every school holidays, Jo-Anne takes a group of University students to the remote and disadvantaged communities of Toomelah and Boggabilla and teaches them Indigenous culture and heritage. She also volunteers as a tutor for Stand Up, a not for profit organisation empowering disadvantaged and vulnerable communities. With Stand Up, Jo-Anne is a positive and motivational role model to the secondary school students attending the Biala Aboriginal youth hostel

Brendon Burns, 25 of Claremont Meadows is an Aboriginal Education Officer at Putland Education and Training Unit. He provides educational services to the young people incarcerated at Cobham Juvenile Justice Centreinc including teacher assistance to support improved learning outcomes for Aboriginal students. He coordinates BroSpeak, a program encouraging students to be strong in identity, set goals, increase self-esteem and become positive role models for their family members and community. Brendon also teaches Aboriginal Dance to the students where they gain confidence to help deal with the stresses of being in custody

WHO Printing Environment and Sustainability Award

Holley Somerville-Knott, 12 of Lennox Head is the CEO and Founder of her Charity - The Stardust Foundation, which she created at the age of 8 to help the Planet, People and Animals in need. She is also Founder of the global movement ‘Tell Someone Who Cares’ - a product range co-created with the Dayak people of Borneo, providing solutions to the palm oil industry, deforestation and wildlife habitat loss. Holley raises money and awareness on many environmental issues and won The Inaugural Government Green Globe Award for Youth Sustainability Champion

Megan Hounslow, 19 of Ingleburn has a passion for community education around issues related to food, agriculture and sustainability. As part of a student team, Megan won the 2014 Western Sydney University Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Sustainability. Megan is Chapter Leader for Youth Food Movement–GWS and organises the annual event ‘Fair Food Fair’, working to promote more sustainable consumption habits in urban audiences. Megan recently worked with Kokonut Pacific in the Solomon Islands, on a social enterprise venture using agricultural production to create sustainable employment for local communities

Grace Liley, 23 of Blakehurst is the NSW Coordinator for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, volunteering up to three days and two nights each week. During 2015, she coordinated a program called ‘Youth Decide’, facilitating large groups of volunteers to educate 5,000 school students on sustainability and climate change. Grace organised volunteer community groups to advocate against the proposed coal ports on the Great Barrier Reef, culminating in a huge campaign win for the AYCC. Grace was also manager of the youth section for Sydney’s People’s Climate March, constituting a crowd of 45,000

AustralianSuper Career Kick Start Award

Matthew Hill, 27 of North Parramatta completed a Bachelor of Advanced Science degree, majoring in Advanced Physics and Advanced Mathematics. For three years Matthew has coordinated a national network of 150 science and mathematics academics, passionate about education and research based practice. Matthew is the youngest person to be awarded the coordinator level role as a teacher and student advisor at Western Sydney University. Recognised for his contributions to leadership, he was selected as only one of a few Australians to attend the 2016 Lausanne Young Leaders Gathering in Indonesia

Ashleigh Pengelly, 26 of Wagga Wagga has a Bachelor of Arts and Social Work and is currently an Aboriginal Youth and Community Development Officer. She sits on many committees including the Riverina Murray Regional Alliance. Ashleigh is a valued member of the Wagga NAIDOC Committee and was a driving force in creating events such as the 2015 NAIDOC Masquerade Ball and Awards. She has organised Lateral Violence training for her community and coordinated Join the Dots, a professional development program for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists

Jane Jinying Lin, 22 of Lyneham is completing her Masters of Astronomy & Astrophysics. She is a member of a large international collaboration of astronomers working on the GALAH project, measuring the properties of a million stars, which is well on the way to its goal. Jane has designed an innovative and complex computer program called GUESS which derives stellar properties from the spectra. This program is essential to the success of the international GALAH project. Jane has presented her results at an international conference and was the youngest attendee

First National Real Estate Leadership Award

Hourieh Marouche, 22 of Bass Hill is a Youth Worker providing care to young people experiencing homelessness and families who have children with a disability. Having dealt previously with her own mental health issues, Hourieh now participates in advocacy forums, fundraisers, and awareness events such as Homelessness Week, Mental Health Month and Youth Week. She was recognised as Team Member of the Year for her contribution as leader of the Bankstown Community Advocacy Group. Bankstown Council awarded the advocacy group with $6,000 to assist their continuing positive impact on the community

Rachael Stevens, 24 of Holder has reached out to over 3,000 young people this year, sharing her personal story about overcoming sexual abuse, anorexia and depression. She utilises public speaking opportunities, workshops, art and also mentoring to inspire and educate young people. Rachael has published her first novel 'The Skeleton Diaries’ reaching countless people suffering from mental illness. She advocates for young people through The Youth Coalition of the ACT, Headspace forums and Create Foundation. Rachael has received many awards and was the face of Lifeline’s 2015 National Christmas campaign

Tom Perfrement, 22 of Hawker is the founder and executive director of MentorMe Australia, the first nationwide mentoring program for secondary students to university graduates. A chemical engineering graduate, Tom has presented internationally on climate resilience and was selected in the Top 100 Future Graduates Competition. He developed a composite disaster resilience index, assisting communities to deal with the impacts of natural hazards and climate extremes. Tom has led several fundraising initiatives, raising over $6,000 for Headspace and the establishment of a water filtration unit for a marginalized community in Costa Rica

Bregje van der Heijden, 27 of Narrabri developed the largest privately owned Occupational Therapy practice in North/North West NSW. Clients range from children with special needs to elderly clients requiring home modifications and aids. Bregje assisted with the design of a unique ‘school readiness’ program for children with special needs, preparing them mentally and physically to commence school. Bregje initiated an innovative Facebook page, encouraging rural health professionals to connect and network. She is currently developing a handbook for OTs, assisting them with integration from University to ‘real life’ work

Santos Indigenous Achievement Award

Kyah Simon, 24 of North Parramatta is a proud Indigenous Athlete and was the first Indigenous person to score at a FIFA Soccer World Cup. She debuted at 16 for The Matildas, the Australian women's national soccer team and has been named as The Matilda’s 2015 Co-Vice Captain. Kyah scored the winning goal in the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Round of 16 game against Brazil. She runs soccer clinics, mentors young athletes and aims to be a positive role model, especially for younger indigenous girls

Dolie Ufi, 23 of Leumeah is employed at Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation as a Sexual Health Worker to educate her community and improve Aboriginal health services. She coordinates a 10 week youth program providing workshops on self-esteem, drug & alcohol party safe, sexual health and teaching job ready skills. Dolie assists with social issues and provides education workshops to young Aboriginal girls at the Juniperina Detention Centre. She assisted with the annual Aboriginal Awareness Education Prevention Shield, a sporty and engaging fun day for over indigenous 120 students, raising awareness about health messages

Danielle Hobday, 22 of Mangrove Mountain is a Wiradjuri woman and young mother of two, whose passion lies with Indigenous youth and women within the Criminal Justice System. She is completing a double degree in Law and Criminology and has received several prestigious scholarships. Danielle is undertaking an Australian Federal Police Cadetship and works as a Juvenile Justice Youth Officer. She volunteers with the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy and returns each year to Yuelamu, NT to maintain her relationship with the community, school and most importantly, young people


The Coffee Club Arts and Fashion Award

James Farley, 25 of Wagga Wagga is a passionate young photographic artist. His PhD research is exploring experimental arts practice in the environment. An exhibiting artist both nationally and internationally, James work has received accolades from Arts NSW, The Contemporary Centre of Photography and the Sony World Photography Organization. James works as a sessional academic tutor in art history, art theory and photo media practice. He was commissioned by Wagga Wagga Hospital and the Council to create an interactive all-ages installation and was also featured in the program of the Fusion Festival

Meghan Alys Bailes, 21 of Wombat is a self-employed photographer, makeup and special effects artist and film maker. Her company ‘Sometimes Alice’ has won numerous awards for her photography, painting and film making. Meghan has worked on many small independent films and music videos for directors and musicians. She is currently studying Special Effects Training with an international film and special effects academy. Meghan volunteers at Young District Arts Council, a youth drama workshop and provides arts and creative activities with at risk youth at the CatholicCare Canberra-Goulburn’s Reconnect Program

Genevieve Clay-Smith, 27 of Alexandria is an award-winning writer and director and is CEO of Bus Stop Films. Bus Stop Films is a voluntarily run, not-for-profit company. It is dedicated to building the confidence, English skills and life ready skills of people with an intellectual disability or those from marginalised communities. Bus Stop Films has won over 50 awards, screened at over 90 international film festivals and can be seen on Qantas in-flight entertainment. Genevieve won the 2015 Women's Weekly Women of the Future Awards

Freemasons of NSW/ACT Community Service Award

Ruth Lewis-Jones, 27 of Bundeena is the founder, designer and managing director of Esteem Designz and Global ChooseREAL Campaign. Concerned with the confronting issues and increasing pressures girls are facing, Ruth’s Esteem Designz provides creative resources and tools for schools and welfare organisations to enable them to better equip and empower girls. To date, 200 organisations have implemented the program impacting 2,000 girls. The ChooseREAL Campaign aims to change our culture and the way girls and women see themselves and the world – as whole, complete and worthy

Kimberly La, 17 of Beecroft created Cloud 9, an extracurricular group focusing on raising awareness of mental health issues. The group now has over 50 members from years 7 to 12 and the school will continue to run Cloud 9 after Kimberly graduates. Kimberly organises events and activities to tackle issues such as stress, body image, domestic violence and youth homelessness. She gained a scholarship to attend the 2015 Women Leading Change forum and is a member of the R U OK Focus Group. Kimberly also volunteers with the Salvation Army and Parkinson's NSW

Rose Cox, 16 of Strathfield has been a young carer for both of her parents, and is determined to be a voice for other young carers. One of 14 members on the NSW Carers Ministerial Advisory Council, she advocates formally to State Government. Rose is the first Youth Ambassador for the Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation, supporting children living in a family with mental illness. She participates in charity fundraising events and volunteer’s weekly at a soup kitchen. Rose is currently undertaking the Bronze Level International Duke of Edinburgh Award