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Education excellence honour for local students

NSW Department of Education 2 mins read

Date: 27 November 2023


Education excellence honour for local students


Central Coast students Abbie McTeare and Zali Reynolds have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to Aboriginal education at the 18th annual Nanga Mai Awards.

Abbie and Zali were among 13 academically successful students, confident public speakers, talented performing artists and outstanding sportspeople to win an award this year. They will join 12 dedicated teachers, community leaders and schools recognised at the award ceremony at the International Convention and Exhibition Centre at Darling Harbour on Monday 27 November.

Abbie, a Year 11 student at Gorokan High School and a proud Dharawal woman, received the Outstanding Achievement in Sport Award.

Abbie has a strong passion for nutrition and health and is currently completing a Certificate IV in Fitness, while also training for her boxing career. She recently won the gold medal at the Australian National Championships in Adelaide in the under 19s women’s 60kg division. Abbie now has her eyes set on securing a place at the upcoming World Youth Championships.

Zali, a Year 12 student at Northlakes High School and Wiradjuri woman, received the Outstanding All Round Student Award.

Zali was the recipient of an Australian Business and Community Network Scholarship in 2021. She maintained a strong study routine and worked two jobs while completing a school-based apprenticeship in Allied Health. Zali won the 2023 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award at the NSW Training Awards for her outstanding commitment to her studies.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Prue Car said NSW public schools worked to enhance and elevate Aboriginal culture and identity through education.

“Today is a wonderful day as we celebrate academic excellence in our Aboriginal learners, leaders and educators,” Ms Car said.

“I want to send a big congratulations to all the hardworking teachers, school leaders and students being honoured at the Nanga Mai Awards.”

NSW Department of Education Secretary Murat Dizdar said the Nanga Mai Awards recognised students, staff and community members demonstrating excellence across all areas of education, from academic achievement, performing arts and public speaking, through to sport and leadership.

He said there had been an outstanding number of nominations for the 2023 awards.

“From talented young scholars, dancers and athletes to staff who work tirelessly for their schools and communities, I commend the leadership, creativity and excellence demonstrated by our 2023 Nanga Mai Award winners,” Mr Dizdar said.

“These awards continue to show that strong community partnerships, dedicated staff and targeted, culturally appropriate programs are integral to the success and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in NSW public schools.”

The 18th annual Nanga Mai Awards are supported by: Hicksons Lawyers, University of NSW, Teachers Health, Learning Links, TOMRA Cleanaway, Bendelta, Australian National Maritime Museum, Ethika Group, Holding Redlich, CQUniversity Australia.

Other award recipients from the Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast regions:

  • Ryan Wood and Ashlee Dawson – Year 12, West Wallsend High – Outstanding Student Leadership Award
  • Tygah Green – Year 6, Kotara South Public School – Outstanding Student Leadership Award
  • Kim Witt – Toronto Public School – Outstanding Leadership in Aboriginal Education Award

Contact details:

Luke Horton 0436 950 946

Sven Wright 02 7814 0069


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