Students shine at the annual Aboriginal Student Achievement awards

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The fantastic achievements and talents of Aboriginal students from Sydney’s South West were on display when the University of Western Sydney hosted the NSW Department of Education and Communities’ annual Aboriginal Student Achievement awards on Friday 8 November, at the UWS Campbelltown campus.

Bringing together over 100 students and educational leaders from more than 50 schools across south- western Sydney, the awards recognise Aboriginal students’ achievements across a broad range of areas, including literacy, numeracy, sporting achievements, culture, courage and commitment, creative arts, and leadership, citizenship and community service.

Established in 1991, the awards are open to all Aboriginal students attending schools within south western Sydney. This year, over 331 nominations were received, with 108 students receiving awards at the ceremony. 

Guests on the night included Executive Director of Public Schools NSW, Mr Murat Dizdar, along with senior DEC and UWS representatives, school principals, prominent Aboriginal elders and members of the local Aboriginal community, local students and their families.

Ms Anne McLean, Manager of Schools Engagement at UWS, says the University was delighted to once again host this annual event, and show its support for the awards. 

“We offer all the students who received awards our warmest congratulations, and hope this celebration of their achievements helps to inspire them on their journey to further study,” says Ms McLean.

“UWS and the Department of Education and Communities in the South-West have a strong, longstanding partnership, and the Department’s ongoing advocacy and assistance has been integral to the success of the University’s Schools Engagement strategy, which has been in place since 2007.”

Two ceremonies were held for primary and secondary school students.

UWS representatives Professor Vaughan Macefield from the School of Medicine, and Professor Rhonda Craven, from the Centre for Positive Psychology and Education at the UWS School of Education, proudly represented UWS on the night by providing the opening remarks and welcoming students and other guests to the campus on behalf of the University. 

Also providing inspiration for the students was UWS student Tom Hatch, currently studying a Bachelor of Health Science (Sport and Exercise Science). 

“Tom has long been involved with various mentoring and schools engagement programs run by the University – programs which connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary and high school students to university, build their skills and show them a little about what campus life is really like. He has certainly helped many students, and works very hard, successfully juggling his uni, employment and community commitments,” says Ms McLean.

The awards are evaluated by a panel comprising representatives of the NSW Department of Education and Communities, local Aboriginal Educational Consultative Groups, Mil-Pra Aboriginal Educational Consultative Group, and Kari Aboriginal Resources Inc.

14 November 2013
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