A 14-year-old boy who helps care for his two sisters with disabilities is among six teenagers recognised in the 2012 Bankstown Youth Awards.
Mayor Khal Asfour said Ali Choueiki is an inspiration to all residents, not just young people.
“Ali helps his mother feed, clean, educate and assist his two sisters who have major disabilities,” Mayor Asfour said.
“This is a big commitment for a 14-year-old boy, particularly when you consider he also volunteers at the local youth centre.”
“Ali is a true inspiration to everyone.”
Ali was one of 60 talented and inspirational teenagers who were nominated in six categories for the 2012 Bankstown Youth Awards.
“It’s such an honour to be recognised for something I do out of love,” Ali said.
“I was very surprised and nervous when my name was read out.
“Mum couldn’t be with me and I played a trick on her by ringing her and saying I didn’t win.
“But then I sent her the video of me receiving the award and she was so proud.
“When I got home we celebrated over dinner and we now plan to have a bbq today.”
Ali and another five teenagers chosen as this year’s recipients were officially recognised at an event at the Bankstown City Council Chambers overnight. They included a student leader, a sporting star, a young academic, a community volunteer and a creative soloist.
The recipients are:
Mayor Asfour said the Bankstown Youth Awards are considered very prestigious as they officially recognise the city’s young community leaders.
“I am constantly amazed and proud of the talented young people learning, living and leading in Bankstown,” Mayor Asfour said.
“We have so many talented and community conscious youth in our city.
“These awards are our way of saying thank you and keep up the good work, because they are our potential leaders of tomorrow.”
Leadership: Barakah Raashed, 16 from Sefton High SchoolWithin the school community, Barakah has been a valuable asset in leading and organising school events as the President of Sefton High School SRC. As School Ambassador, Barakah has also represented Sefton High at various functions within the community. Barakah’s leadership achievements extend beyond school and into the wider community. She is an Inter-school SRC Executive Team Member for the Granville-Illawarra Region, South Western Sydney Regional SRC member for 2012 and 2013, State SRC Conference Action Team Member, Regional SRC and Youth Leadership Conference Participant. The NSW State SRC Conference is the peak student leadership conference supported by the NSW Department of Education and Communities. Her participation in leadership programs has enabled her to implement many strategies to help improve high school life for, not only students at Sefton High School, but all students in NSW.
Sporting: James Kermond, 16 from Georges River GrammarJames is a life member of Bankstown Little Athletics Club having had more than 10 years continued service. James was selected for the Australian Institute of Sport Target Talent Program Squad 2012, and the NSW Institute of Sport Target Talent Program 2012. In 2011, he won the 100m, 200m and 400m events at the NSW All Schools Competition, setting a record in the 400m. James’ ambition is to contest the 2013 World Youth Games in Ukraine.
Academic Achievement: Sally Hoang, 16 from Sefton High SchoolSally has received numerous academic achievements and certificates. They include: an Award for Excellence: Perfect Score for the Australian Informatics Competition (2010); High Distinctions for the Australian Intermediate Mathematics Olympiad, Australian Geography Competition (2011 & 2012), Maths Challenge Stage (2010-11), AMC (2008), AIC (2012, 2011 & 2009) and NSW Geography Competition. She was also selected to represent the school in the Biology and Physics Olympiads 2012 and UNSW 51st Annual School Mathematics Competition. She was ranked first in her grade overall from 2008-10, andachieved Band 6 in all courses in the School Certificate.
Community Involvement: Mohamed Gamanga, 18 from Birrong Boys HighMohamed Gamanga came to Australia less than five years ago on a Humanitarian Refugee Visa. He has been the driving force behind a program called "Africation" which Youth Off The Streets is proudly supporting. Gamanga plans to send educational resources to disadvantaged students in Sierra Leone and has been reaching out to local schools, services and libraries for support. Earlier this year, he received a scholarship to study for a Certificate III in Community Service from OTEN, an open education college which was inspired by Gamanga's work. Even though Gamanga is studying for his HSC, he still finds time to study at OTEN, work at a restaurant and be the spokesperson for the 'Africation' program.
Inspiration: Ali Choueiki, 14 from Bass Hill High SchoolAli Choueiki has two sisters that have major disabilities. He spends a lot of his time helping his Mother feed, clean, educate and assist them with day-to-day activities. Ali also volunteers at the Roundabout Youth Centre every Friday night as DJ. He also participates in other centre activities and serves customers.
Creative and Performing Arts: Shavaun Taiaroa, 18 from Condell Park High SchoolIn 2010, Shavaun successfully auditioned for the Bankstown Talented Advancement Program (TAP) and has been singing at various events ever since. In 2011, she performed a solo at NSW Parliament House. In 2012, she was the opening act for Lloyd at the Enmore Theatre and AJ Rafael’s band Red Roses at the Macquarie Function Centre. In June, she won a photo shoot and recording session when she came 1st at the Auburn star 2012 Talent quest. Shavaun will be travelling to America in November to record half an album with Dapo Torimiro, a respected song writer and record producer who has worked with Stevie Wonder, Lauren Hill and on various Disney Productions.