Semi-finalists announced in Young Achiever Awards

20 March 2019

Semi Finalists have been announced for the nine categories in the 201819 Seven News Young Achiever Awards. 

The talent and accomplishments of all nominees was outstanding, making the extensive judging process difficult this year. 

Catholic Education Western Australia proudly sponsors the Young Leadership Award for which 10 outstanding young people have been shortlisted. 

From improving outcomes for Aboriginal people to raising thousands of dollars for community centres, a talented sportsman who champions the needs of regional children to a young ambassador who founded his first charity at the age of 10, the semi-finalists are all inspirational young leaders. 

The Young Leadership Award acknowledges young people who have demonstrated outstanding leadership within their schools, organisations and businesses. It recognises leaders who exemplify courage, the power of a positive attitude, and the necessary skills to empower and collaborate with others to achieve successful outcomes. 

Finalists will be announced after judging is completed on 27 March. Winners of all nine categories will receive a $1,000 Bartercard account, a $500 Woolworths Gift Card, plus $500 cash and a magnificent trophy presented at the gala presentation dinner on 25 May. 

The Catholic Education Western Australia Young Leadership Award Semi Finalists are: 

Krista Dunstan: A Noongar woman and lawyer, Krista is a rising star in WA legal circles and role model for young Aboriginal people. As a senior public servant, she develops the policy and practice of organisations in order to improve access for Aboriginal people and works tirelessly to develop better outcomes for her community. Krista was inducted into the Western Australian Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011 and awarded the Human Rights Awards Young People’s Medal in 2012. Krista is a board member of the Museum for Freedom and Tolerance (WA) and the Western Australian Aboriginal Advisory Council.

Ethan Williams: A leader since high school, Ethan’s community and fundraising work with the St Patrick’s Community Centre, the University of Notre Dame Australia and the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience has inspired many young people and enriched lives. His leadership has led to fellow Notre Dame students becoming mentors and even his own mentees taking up the role of mentor. 

Dean Morris: An RSPCA WA Youth Ambassador, Dean founded his charity Give Our Strays A Chance at just 10 years of age. GOSAC works to raise funds and awareness for various animal shelters and rescue groups. Now 15, Dean goes above and beyond for animals in need and has raised more than $10,000 and donated thousands of dollars’ worth of items to help give abandoned animals a second chance.  

Josef Jordan Bandera: In 2013 as a 15-year-old, Josef identified a significant disparity in the opportunities to participate in sporting programs across the greater Bunbury region for people with intellectual disabilities. He established WA iSports, a club which through the efforts of a committed group of volunteers, has built and resourced a clubhouse. Josef has created a number of programs at WA iSports and has been a member of the City of Bunbury Disability Access and Inclusion team for four years. 

Drisana Levitzke-Gray: A founding member of Deaf Youth Australia and 2015 Young Australian of the Year, Drisana advocates for the human rights of deaf people and raises awareness about Auslan and the right of deaf children in Australia to access Auslan from birth. She founded “Deaf Film Nights” in 2016, showcasing deaf films, movies and documentaries from all over the world, providing the community members with the opportunity to understand and embrace their language, culture, community and history. She continues to give absolute commitment to her passion while studying full-time at UWA for her Bachelors in Communications and Law.  

Jack Hadley: Jack was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, a rare condition that left him with major disfigurations including a hole in the back of his head. Doctors did not expect him to survive. Jack has not only lived, he has thrived, displaying exceptional leadership through his role as Ambassador for the Perth Childrens’ Hospital Foundation and involvement in various campaigns including Emerging Leaders in Philanthropy.  

Luke Christian Cotellessa: A talented athlete who has represented WA in the AFL, Luke has used his passion for sport to help children less fortunate. He began the “Luke’s Boots for the Outback” campaign in 2014 when he was just eight-years-old and has now collected and distributed more than 8000 pairs of boots, sporting equipment and attire to children in remote WA. Luke is also a member of the SMASHCREW Sports Show on Noongar Radio 100.9FM. 

Courtney Gratteri: Courtney’s passion for youth work, mental health and community services grows continually. Working with Save the Children, she led and facilitated Strong Hearts Strong Minds workshops. Courtney is passionate about working with disadvantaged children and young people and advocates for services to better connect and collaborate. She has built genuine positive relationships with young people and families. 

Hayley Passmore: A final year Doctor of Philosophy candidate at the Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Western Australia, Hayley has demonstrated exceptional leadership in research and translation in child health research, as well as through teaching, promoting research impact, and working in the justice sector. Her research is part of the first prevalence study of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) to take place within an Australian juvenile detention centre and addresses the capacity of custodial staff to identify and manage young people with neurodevelopmental impairments, a critical area previously unaddressed. 

Cassie Kirtisingham: With one in 16 young Australians currently experiencing depression and one in six with anxiety, Cassie saw a need for an innovative approach to resilience education in schools, so she created IZRA. Using modern branding and conversational language, IZRA has so far impacted more than 20,000 students face to face. The unique and innovative programs use interactive presentations, as well as creative, vocational and entrepreneurial workshops to engage students with purpose and resilience. 

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