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Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Indigenous students recognised for academic achievements

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Kaleb Henman from Ballina Coast High School received the Nanga Mai Award in Sydney. Photo supplied.

Recognising their achievements academically, in sport and within the community Kaleb Henman from Ballina Coast High School and Mia Thom from Byron Bay High School received awards at the NSW public schools 13th annual Nanga Mai Awards in Sydney on Thursday March 21.

‘Nanga Mai is an Eora word, which means “to dream”, and at these awards we celebrate and acknowledge students, staff and community members who have made remarkable contributions to Aboriginal education,’  said the secretary of the NSW Department of Education, Mark Scott at the awards ceremony.

Topping his year in both maths and English Kaleb, currently in year 8, is preparing to do accelerated maths so that he can prepare for unit three mathematics in year 11 and 12.

‘He is a natural leader and mentor to other students, and is taking part in the Ngara Wumara Research Study, a longitudinal study for gifted and talented Aboriginal students,’ said a spokesperson for the education department.

Similarly Mia Thom has also achieved academic excellence and been awarded the Principal’s Award for academic excellence every year from 2014 to 2017.

‘Based on academic ability she was accepted into the CSIRO ASSETTS program for high achieving Year 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with an interest in science,’ said the spokesperson.

The awards ceremony also recognised Fingal Head Public School that is part of the Yuli Coastal Culture Program, for its outstanding school and community partnership. Currently in its fourth year the program brings together Aboriginal students from Kingscliff High School with six partner primary schools in building cultural knowledge and pride in their local context.

‘The Yuli team works closely with local Elders, the Tweed Ballina Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer, the Tweed/Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council, the Tweed/Wollumbin Education Consultative Group and Banaam Cultural Intelligence Educators, comprising members of the local Slabb family of Fingal Head, who continue to engage in practices of their ancestors,’ said the departments spokesperson.

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