A 16-year-old who is the State’s only known indigenous lacrosse player has been named Western Australia’s Young Person of the Year for 2008.
Jaden Mellick received the award and a European holiday for two from Youth Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich at the WA Youth Awards Showcase Dinner at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre this evening.
Ms Ravlich said Jaden was chosen from an outstanding group of nominees and was an excellent role model for young Western Australians.
“Jaden has a passion for sport and is able to inspire other indigenous and non-indigenous young people to participate in physical activity,” she said.
“He is proof that young Western Australians can achieve great things and make valuable contributions to the community, while enjoying a healthy lifestyle.”
Jaden is currently a Year 12 student at Hamilton Senior High School, and is the co-ordinator of the ‘Follow the Dream’ program, which supports aspiring students in achieving their academic goals.
He has been voted fairest and best at club level for lacrosse and has represented the State.
Jaden’s passion for sport is also evident through his participation in the National Indigenous Basketball competition for the last two years, in which he has been the co-ordinating member for his team, and a player for the ‘All Indigenous Club’ for PCYC Fremantle.
Jaden is proud of his indigenous heritage and through sport, a positive attitude, music and enthusiasm, many students have become involved in activities within the school, and friends and family have been inspired to become more active.
The WA Youth Awards recognise and reward outstanding young Western Australians aged 13 to 25 years in the categories of active achievement, leadership, citizenship (individual), citizenship (group), inspiration and environment.
Award winners receive $2,000 in prize money and a voyage aboard the STS Leeuwin.
Ms Ravlich also commended the work of the media in bringing to public attention the outstanding contributions of young people.
Golden West Network reporter Estelle Lewis was awarded the inaugural Charmaine Dragun Memorial Judges’ Commendation for an Entrant Under 25, for a story called ‘Disability Funding’ that she filed for Channel 7.
The Minister said the State Government recognised the important role that young people played in contributing to, and shaping, society - locally, nationally and globally.
“People often say that young people are our future, but they are also our today and they are making a huge contribution right now,” she said.
“We all need to celebrate that.”
WA Youth Award 2008 winners (each received $2,000 and a trophy):
Mr Jaden Mellick (Hilton) - WA Young Person of the Year 2008 / Office for Youth Active Achievement Award
Curtin Volunteers! (Bentley) - Nickel West Citizenship (Group) Award
Curtin Volunteers! is the largest not-for-profit student run organisation in Australia and is dedicated to creating community-minded citizens, showing that students can learn just as much outside the classroom as in it. For ten years, Curtin Volunteers! has encouraged partnerships with other universities and organisations, working to make a difference in the community.
Mr Vinay Menon (Applecross) - Woodside Citizenship (Individual) Award
Vinay Menon is a tireless volunteer and chairperson of the Red Cross WA Youth Advisory Committee. His extraordinary commitment to people through his work in developing new programs for diverse and disadvantaged young people, and volunteering to assist international HIV/AIDS programs, is outstanding. Vinay is a true inspiration to other young people, encouraging them to pursue humanitarian goals.
Mr Simon Cherriman (Parkerville) - Department of Environment and Conservation Environment Award
Simon Cherriman began his research on wedge-tailed eagles in school and has since completed an award-winning honours thesis and produced a public education DVD. He juggles research for the Department of Environment and Conservation with guiding observation tours at Karakamia Wildlife Sanctuary. Simon’s infectious energy and enthusiasm have positively influenced many people’s views on conservation.
Ms Raynar Foldesi (Maddington) - Lotterywest and Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation Inspiration Award
Raynar Foldesi has been caring for her younger brother since 1988, when he suffered multiple strokes affecting his physical and mental capacity. She is a founding member of the Young Carers in Action group at Carers WA, and volunteers with the City of Gosnells, supporting young sibling carers like her. Drawing from her own experiences, Raynar makes a positive contribution to the lives of young people.
Ms Lisa Schofield (Boulder) - Edith Cowan University Leadership Award
Lisa Schofield is Youth Mayor at the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. She is involved in many local youth committees and events, and has initiated innovative programs to create positive images of young people and connect them with the community. She makes time to mentor at a local school, where bullies work with their targets to develop mutual understanding. Lisa’s commitment and dedication make her an excellent role model for young people.
WA Youth Awards- Media Reporting winners 2008 (each winner receives a trip to Margaret River, courtesy of Isaacs Ridge):
· Print Media - best metropolitan news or feature article:
Torrance Mendez from The West Australian for ‘Learning Curve’.
· Print Media - best suburban news or feature article:
Karen Valenti from the Stirling Times for ‘Looking After Lawrence’.
· Print Media - best regional news or feature article:
Catherine Somerville from the Pilbara News for ‘Teenage Pain - Save Our Girls from Anorexia’.
· Television - best metropolitan feature article/news item and most outstanding entry by a journalist under 25 year of age:
Estelle Lewis from GWN for a Channel 7 story called ‘Disability Funding’.
· Television - best regional feature article/news item:
Soo-li Yong from the Golden West Network for ‘Warburton Kids’.
Genine Unsworth from ABC South West for ’Coming Out’.
Dominique Menegaldo from the Community Newspaper Group, for ‘Looking After Lawrence’.
Minister's Office - 9213 6800