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Aboriginal children are often bombarded by negative stereotypes about Aboriginal achievement in education, training and employment. Common stereotypes include ‘Aboriginal kids all drop out of school’ or ‘are great on the footy field but not in the classroom.’ These negative stereotypes have been shown to have a harmful impact on Aboriginal people’s self-esteem and perpetuate a myth that academic achievement is not for them.

In order to counteract this negative stereotype and its negative effects on Aboriginal children and youth in the Goulburn Valley, Ganbina have been hosting the Ganbina Youth Achievement Awards since 2005.

Open to all Aboriginal children and youth in the Goulburn Valley, the annual awards night celebrates Aboriginal achievement specifically in education, training and employment. Winners not only receive a certificate acknowledging their achievements, but also a cash prize, at a gala dinner surrounded by their family, friends and peers.

Current Ganbina board member, former Ganbina participant and Youth Achievement Award winner Lena Charles-Loffel, remembers the impact the awards night had on her as a young Aboriginal person.

“The awards night really stood out to me as a kid. It’s hard being an Aboriginal kid in the classroom. When society speaks about Aboriginal people in education, it’s always from such a deficit model. It’s always ‘Aboriginal kids are not doing enough’, or ‘there’s not enough Aboriginal people in education’… With the awards night, Ganbina provides the space to celebrate that in fact, we are doing a lot,” she said.

This year’s awards night was particularly significant as it was the first in-person awards night in two years. Since the pandemic began, the awards had to shift to an online format. After two years of online ceremonies, we were finally able to return to an in-person three course gala dinner event in late 2022, although not without a few hurdles to overcome…

Due to the floods that affected Shepparton in October, the awards night had to be shifted to later in the year. On top of that, the event was moved to a new venue due to our usual venue being flooded.

We were very pleased that despite the challenges, this year’s awards night was a resounding success.
The night began with a welcoming address from Yorta Yorta Elder Aunty Merle Miller, which was then followed by a performance from the Galyna Winyarr Dance Group.

In total, 32 awards were presented to local Aboriginal children and youth for their achievements across all levels of secondary education, as well as training and employment.

The Youth of the Year Award was awarded to Klarindah Hudson-Proctor.

Ganbina CEO Anthony Cavanagh said the Ganbina Youth Achievement Awards demonstrated the resilience and determination of Aboriginal youth.

“This year’s Ganbina Youth Achievement Awards are a testament to the courage and resilience of the Aboriginal youth in our community. Despite facing two years of extensive lockdowns, online learning and a flooding disaster, more than 30 Aboriginal children and youth are being recognised for their achievements in education and employment.

“These kids encapsulate the meaning of Ganbina, which means rise up in the Yorta Yorta language. Myself and the entire Ganbina team, could not be more proud of them,” he said.

Congratulations to our 2023 Ganbina Youth Achievement Award winners!

EDUCATION – YEAR 7 WINNERS
Zahli Aylett, Koby Charles, Corey Colger and Bridget Cooper

EDUCATION – YEAR 8 WINNERS
Darcy Atkinson, Zoe Briggs, Logan Falla and Rhianna Ward

EDUCATION – YEAR 9 WINNERS
Ellie Armstrong, Cody Fairless, Mya Falla and Riva Zerbato

EDUCATION – YEAR 10 WINNERS
Lincoln Atkinson, Grace Jones, Brogan McGee and Ella Morgan

EDUCATION – YEAR 11 WINNERS
Chenoa Lovett-Lindrea, Mollie Olphert, Hariyett Peters and Lillie Walker

EDUCATION – YEAR 12 WINNERS
Frances Atkinson, Kaitlyn Crowhurst, Rae-Nee Roberts and Jake Zerbato

TRAINING
Shaelyn Crowhurst and Lakota Hayes-Atkinson

EMPLOYMENT
Virgil Biggs, Muna Brown, Klarindah Hudson-Proctor and McKenzie Joachim

YOUTH OF THE YEAR WINNER
Klarindah Hudson-Proctor