The 2015 National Youth Awards winners were officially announced at a buzzing Brisbane City Hall on April 16.
Each of the seven category winners were on hand to receive their prestigious Awards from Senator the Hon Scott Ryan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education and Training with over 100 guests in attendance [read official media release]. Congratulations to all of this year’s outstanding winners and finalists, who have worked incredibly hard within their communities and are highly deserving of their nominations.
This year was the third iteration of the Awards, with the wonderfully high standards of nominees being maintained yet again.
For a full list of all of the 2015 NYA winners and their bios, see below.
Stay tuned for a Photo Gallery from the Awards Ceremony.
We’ll see you all again in 2016!
2015 Youth Employment Award
Winner: Colleen Chen
Colleen’s passion to raise awareness about the issues surrounding unpaid internships led her to co-found Interns Australia, a youth-led advocacy organisation to tackle the rising issues of unpaid internships throughout the country. Through her work at Interns Australia, Colleen has been able to put the issue of youth unemployment at the centre of policy discussions. Through hard work and dedication, Colleen and Interns Australia have successfully crowdfunded $10,000 in seed capital to launch Australia's first fair internship accreditation scheme.
Finalists: Jessica Perry (SA), Jarrod Hollier (NSW) & Binu Jayawardena (WA)
2015 Youth Safety Award
Winner: Lilly Lyons
At only 13 years old, Lilly has become a passionate advocate for raising awareness for and providing a voice to sexual assault victims after her own experiences. Lilly is a member of Liverpool Youth Council, was a representative and advocate of Youth off the Streets, and raises money for the after-care programme run by Father Riley.
Finalists: Kimberly La (NSW), Jessica Heaney (NSW) & Maggie Heffernan (VIC)
2015 Youth Culture and Diversity Award
Winner: Meridah Hunter
Meridah is a culturally-aware and respectful person who understands the importance of bringing people together through co-operation and inclusion. Meridah created the Biddigal Performing Arts Group with her fellow performers.
The Group has grown to be a prominent Indigenous youth-based performing arts group performing at major events across Australia. Her efforts have created cultural awareness, supported youth-at-risk and recorded elder’s stories, more importantly she is actively promoting a shared sense of identity. Meridah approached her school to establish the school’s first ever National Aboriginal and Islander Day of Celebration and has been instrumental in facilitating school visits by Indigenous artists, elders and performers.
Finalists: Ashleigh Green (NSW), Kim Ho (NSW) & Golda Signal (WA)
2015 Youth Health Award
Winner: Samuel Clarke
Samuel is an inspiring young man. By age 15, he had been diagnosed with and subsequently beaten cancer twice. Despite these tragic circumstances, Samuel now seeks to utilise his experiences in order to aid the physical and mental health of others. He was selected as a Youth Ambassador for R U OK? and is committed to reducing suicide rates for young people. He does this through encouraging young Australians to support each other, in order to break stigmas associated with mental illness.
Finalists: Rebecca Lanigan (VIC), Rebecca Chen (NSW) & Mark Haseloff (SA)
2015 Youth Leadership Award
Winner: Brynlea Gibson
Brynlea has always shown an interest in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) activities, particularly in its application to the real world. A recent project conducted by Brynlea features a communication system that will eventually enable remote control of a complex robot using simple intuitive human movements. Such a system could be used in medicine with a hope to assist in remote surgery, or communicating to a robot used for mining exploration and rescue. As an Australian iAward winner, Brynlea has presented her projects internationally as well as promoting to peers and adults that very young people are a hidden resource in the world of ICT.
Finalists: Monica Forson (VIC), Dalia Al-Haj Qasem (NSW) & Torekana Bule-Turner (WA)
2015 Youth Courage Award
Winner: Leah Findlay
Leah is legally blind which makes everyday activities like reading signs, moving around in public and catching public transport very challenging. Despite these difficulties, Leah has undertaken a four-hour round trip to the University of NSW to complete her Arts/Law degree over the past six years and has now completed her degree. While studying, Leah volunteered as a peer mentor to assist new students to transition to university life and tutored many Indigenous students in Criminology and Law, providing support and help to build confidence, skills and a sense of belonging in the university community. This year, Leah has commenced a PhD in Law and will be teaching undergraduate Criminology classes.
Finalists: Todd Patterson (TAS), Rachael Stevens (ACT) & Tegan Heggblum (SA)
2015 Youth in Media Award
Winner: Laura Armitage (Leader Newspapers, VIC)
Laura Armitage is a journalist based in Melbourne with a love of news and investigation. She has been working with Leader Newspapers for more than four years since finishing her post-graduate Diploma of Journalism with La Trobe University in 2010. Laura loves working with local communities, building relationships and writing grassroots stories. dedication of Heidelberg west young people Sonni Ford and Nathan Williams was the basis of Laura’s article, Providing a chance for youth to shoot hoops. The story reported on the work undertaken by the pair to establish a weekly basketball competition for potentially at-risk local young people.
Finalists: Clay Lucas (The Age, VIC), Adem Saban (Macedon Ranges Free Press, VIC) & Jesse Graham (Mail Newspaper Group, VIC)