Mark McGowan

Mark McGowan

Minister for Education and Training; South West

    Awards honour top Aboriginal educators and students

    10/07/2008 12:00 AM

    Outstanding Year 12 students from Belmont City College and Kelmscott Senior High School were among 11 winners announced last night at the 2008 Aboriginal Education Awards of Achievement.


    Timed to coincide with NAIDOC Week celebrations, the awards recognise outstanding achievements by Aboriginal students and educators across the State.


    Speaking at the awards ceremony last night Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan said Elainah Coffin, from Belmont City College and Jordan AhChee, from Kelmscott Senior High School, were exceptional leaders in their schools.


    “In addition to being in her school’s Academic Extension Program, Elainah is the first Aboriginal president of the student council at Belmont City College, and her involvement in the community is remarkable,” Mr McGowan said.


    “As deputy head boy at Kelmscott Senior High School, Jordan is also in his school’s Academic Talent Program and is an accomplished team leader on the sports field.”


    Other winners included schools, a deputy principal, principal, an Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer, a primary school student and more.


    The Minister said the award winners were examples of the successes being achieved in Aboriginal education in Western Australia.


    “The WA Government recognises the importance of education and remains committed to achieving more for Aboriginal students in our State,” he said.


    “With a particular focus on early childhood education, attendance and community partnerships, we are determined to bring about significant improvements in the performance of Aboriginal students.


    “These award winners are helping to bring about a culture of excellence in Aboriginal education and they are to be congratulated.”


    Minister's office  - 9222 9111


    Aboriginal Education Awards of Achievement winners:


    Outstanding Female Aboriginal Student Year 12 - Elainah Coffin, Belmont City College


    Elainah is a member of Belmont City College’s Academic Extension Program and the Follow the Dream program.  She is studying four TEE subjects and hopes to pursue a career in law or teaching.


    This year, she was elected by staff and students as president of the student council, the first Aboriginal student to hold this position at the college.  Elainah also takes part in a range of community activities, including helping to organise NAIDOC Week celebrations and volunteering with the elderly at the Djarindjin Clinic.


    Outstanding Male Aboriginal Student Year 12 - Jordan AhChee, Kelmscott Senior High School


    Jordan is a member of the Department of Education and Training’s Academic Talent Program and Follow the Dream program.  As Deputy Head Boy of Kelmscott Senior High School, he is active in school life and gets involved in community events such as ANZAC Day and NAIDOC Week.


    Last year, Jordan was a member of the WA indigenous Under-17 basketball team and won the best and fairest award in the national competition.  He is also a talented footballer, being a member of the South Fremantle football development squad and captain of the Kelmscott Football Club team.


    Outstanding Educator - Sinan Kerimofski, Busselton Primary School


    Mr Kerimofski is Deputy Principal of Busselton Primary School, where he established the Kaaka Baaka Noongar cultural program for Aboriginal students in Years Four to Seven. The program has fostered increased understanding and awareness of Noongar culture across the school and Warren-Blackwood Education District.


    Through Kaaka Baaka, Mr Kerimofski has been instrumental in increasing the cultural knowledge, self-esteem and attendance of the Aboriginal students at Busselton Primary School.


    Outstanding Primary School Student Citizenship - Jamaine Ward, Kununurra District High School


    Jamaine is a Year Seven student at Kununurra District High School, where her excellent attendance and participation in voluntary after school classes sets a positive example for other students. As a sports faction leader she helps to organise sporting activities for other students and has represented her school at regional athletics championships.


    Jamaine has performed at the Kimberley Moon Festival with the school’s community choir and at local events as a member of the Deadly Blokes and Kids band.


    Outstanding Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer - Basil Kickett, Narrogin Primary School


    Mr Kickett is a Noongar elder and member of the Wilman group, and is well-regarded for his ability to guide and support Noongar students at Narrogin Primary School.  As a member of Narrogin’s Parent School Partnership Initiative, he has helped develop a strong relationship between the school and the local Aboriginal community.


    Thanks in part to his hard work and perseverance, $300,000 in funding was secured to improve services for Aboriginal students at the school, employ additional support staff and start a breakfast literacy program and an after-school learning club.


    Barry Hayward Award - Donnelle Slater, Balga Senior High School


    Donelle is a language specialist in Noongar language and co-ordinates the Languages Other Than English (LOTE) program at Balga Senior High School.  She was pivotal in developing and delivering the Aboriginal Language and Culture Program in the school’s successful Swan Nyungar Sports Education Program.


    Under her tutelage, her students have delivered literacy-based presentations to forums including the National Native Title Conference, Attorney General’s Community Forum and the City of Stirling.


    Ben Drayton Award - Goldfields District Education Office, Kalgoorlie Boulder Indigenous Early Years Development Project


    The Kalgoorlie Boulder Indigenous Early Years Development Project started in 2007 to encourage Aboriginal children to take part in early years’ education, as well as increasing support and information services to their parents. This has been achieved through collaboration between local schools, Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers, the Aboriginal community and local health and community services.


     In 2008, another 17 Aboriginal students were enrolled in early education in the district and in the past year, the number of Aboriginal parents participating in school-linked activities and children’s early education activities increased from 27 to 200.


    Milton Thorne Award (metro) - Noongar Student Club, Swan View Primary School


    The Noongar Student Club was established in 2007 to give Aboriginal students an opportunity to regularly celebrate their indigenous heritage, identity and culture.  Students meet once a week with the music specialist teacher and the Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer, which has resulted in the establishment of an Aboriginal choir and the Jembe drum program. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of Aboriginal parents and carers attending school activities, and the attendance of students has improved.


    Milton Thorne Award (regional) - Karratha Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee, Karratha Primary School


    The Karratha Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee was set up to manage strategies to reduce absenteeism and improve participation at Karratha Primary School, by making the school a welcoming environment for Aboriginal children and their families.  Providing specialist support, reward activities, nutrition programs and involving families in learning programs has resulted in significant increases in participation and performance across all learning areas and ages. This year, the school has successfully achieved regular attendance levels of more than 85 per cent.


    Outstanding Leadership in Aboriginal Education - Donna Bridge, Principal East Kalgoorlie Primary School


    Donna Bridge has been recognised for her enormous contribution to Aboriginal education. Ninety-six per cent of East Kalgoorlie Primary School students are Aboriginal and, as principal, Ms Bridge has created a culture celebrating the school’s unique culture through its ‘Deadly and Smart’ ethos.


    The school community, considered unsafe by many parents in 2005, has been transformed through sound leadership and a dedication to providing a safe, supportive learning environment. Donna has been awarded a $10,000 package to enable a visitation program to further her understanding and expertise in indigenous education.


    Aboriginal Education and Training Council Award - Doris Edgar, Broome


    Doris Edgar is a Naja Karajarri Elder who has excelled in recording, promoting and teaching Aboriginal languages to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.  Mrs Edgar has been teaching Yawuru language and culture to students at Broome primary schools every week for the last 16 years.


    Her indispensable cultural and language knowledge contributes to the pride and self-esteem of Aboriginal students and presents a valuable learning opportunity to all students, and staff involved in the language program.  Mrs Edgar is a respected elder in the Broome community who has made an outstanding contribution to the maintenance and preservation of Aboriginal languages and cultures.