Education excellence honour for community leaders

Department of Education

Uncle Pat Connolly and Aunty Veronica Camp have been recognised for their outstanding contribution to Aboriginal education in NSW public schools at the 16th annual Nanga Mai Awards.

Uncle Pat and Aunty Veronica are two of eight dedicated teachers, community leaders and schools to win an award this year.

They join 17 students, including Narrandera High School’s Wesley Bamblett, who were also recognised last week for their excellence across a range of academic, sporting and community endeavours.

Uncle Pat received the Outstanding Contribution to Educational Achievement by an Aboriginal community member for his work with local schools and community for more than 20 years.

Aunty Veronica, a School Learning Support Officer at Coleambally Central School, was awarded Oustanding Contribution to Educational Achievement by an Aboriginal Staff Member for her work for the past 15 years at the school’s rural campus Tirkandi Inaburra.

Wesley, a proud Wiradjuri man, received the Outstanding Student Leadership Award for his work in both Narrandera High and the local community.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning Sarah Mitchell said she was proud to share, witness and celebrate the incredible level of educational brilliance displayed within Aboriginal education in New South Wales.

“It is thrilling to see that by embracing the diversity of schools, communities, students and staff that support and champion Aboriginal education, we can continue to fully embody the spirit of Nanga Mai, which is the Eora word for ‘to dream’,” Ms Mitchell said.

NSW Department of Education Georgina Harrisson 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.

Ms Harrisson said despite the challenging year, there had been a doubling of nominations for the awards.

“I’d like to congratulate all that were nominated for the awards today and commend our amazing recipients,” she said.

“The leadership, creativity and excellence demonstrated is undeniable and is the result of our targeted programs, strong community partnerships and the sheer dedication of our tremendous staff. These combined efforts are integral to the ongoing successes of Aboriginal education in NSW.”

The 16th Annual Nanga Mai Awards is supported by: Aboriginal Education Council, Hicksons Lawyers, University of New South Wales, Teachers Health, Expedite IT, RD Facilities Management, MBB Group, University of Sydney and Curijo.

Photos are available on request. The full citation for their awards can be found online.

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