7NEWS Young Achiever Awards - NSW/ACT

2021 Winners of the 7NEWS NSW/ACT Young Achiever Awards


2021 Overall NSW/ACT Young Achiever of the Year - Tara Jane Sargent


Freemasons of NSW/ACT Community Service Award

Jason Owen, 26 of Gosford is a youth empowerment advocate. Jason is an award-winning country music singer who founded Doin It For Rural Aussie Kids (DIFRAK), a charity that provides gifts, groceries and funds at Christmas to regional kids impacted by drought, bushfires and Covid-19. He set up a GoFundMe page to raise money and contributed funds from sales of his merchandise and secured sponsor donations. He embarked on a road trip, visited remote rural communities and schools and supplied hundreds of gifts to children and families. In 2020, he devised “How Ya Goin’ with Jason Owen”, an online series that raises awareness for mental health issues.



NSW Ministry of Health Public Health Pandemic Response Award 

Bradley McEntee, 27 of Liechardt brings his positive attitude, dedication and kindness to work. Bradley is a Clinical Nurse Consultant in infection control for the Covid-19 Special Health Accommodation in NSW; caring for returned travellers or those unable to self-isolate at home. A critical member of the team, Bradley has helped set up and run all seven Health Hotels - dedicating his time to ensuring compliance with infection control standards and making sure all staff feel safe and reassured. He has helped keep the patient-to-nurse transmissions to zero and always has time to answer anyone’s questions. Bradley has a wealth of knowledge and understanding of infection control procedures.



NSW Department of Education Early Childhood Educator Award

Larissa Moore, 28 of Penrith advocates for children to feel a greater sense of autonomy and power within themselves. Larissa has been an Early Childhood teacher with Penrith City Council since 2015. She has been a lead educator, actively implementing services curriculum standards and supporting and mentoring those around her. The curriculum is interest-based, child-led and heavily revolves around the emotional and social development of children - which particularly supports vulnerable children. Larissa plans and designs e-learning modules for educators. For her ongoing commitment to the education and care of children aged 0-12, she received the 2020 Educator of the Year award within Penrith City Council.



First National Real Estate Leadership Award

Maddison O’Gradey-Lee, 23 of Bateau Bay is passionate about improving mental health outcomes for youth. Maddison is the CEO and founder of High Tide, a volunteer organisation that runs workshops on mental health for high school students. She utilises her lived experience and shares her story of struggle, hope and recovery. Maddison is also a lead facilitator at Jasiri, a pay-it-forward self-defence class for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. She works with Orygen and the World Economic Forum as a youth representative. Maddison has represented Australia at the Global Young Leaders Conference. She is the first to win the Australian Dalai Lama Peace Fellowship.



TransGrid Indigenous Achievement Award

Leticia Quince, 24 of Beresfield is committed to improving services for children and young people using her own experience in the child protection system. Leticia is a caseworker working as Youth Development Coach at Uniting Care. She mentors youth and provides a seamless transition to independent living. Leticia is a recipient of the Indigenous Youth Leadership Program scholarship for Dubbo Community Senior Campus 2013-2014. She was Chairperson of the Dubbo City Youth Council from January 2015 to December 2016. She has been a youth ambassador for AbSec since 2015 and was recognised as Young Person of the Year for NSW Aboriginal Child & Family Awards.



Western Sydney University Academic Achievement Award

Fatima Hussaini, 20 of South Granville is committed to improving the lives of others. Fatima is a self-taught refugee and women’s right advocate who never attended school, but gained entry into university through hard work. She is currently a Medical Science student at Western Sydney University, where she consistently achieves High Distinction scores and has a G.P.A. of 7.0 - despite studying in English, her third language. She came from Afghanistan and spent most of her life in Pakistan due to war. Unable to enrol in school in Pakistan, she read books at the local library then volunteered to teach others English and women’s and children’s rights.



Aboriginal Education Council Aboriginal Education Award

Brenton Hawken, 25 of Temora is particularly passionate about public education. In 2017, Brenton participated in the National Indigenous Youth Parliament as NSW representative - meeting parliamentary members, conducting media interviews and debating social justice issues in relation to Indigenous Australians. Brenton is a food technology teacher at Temora High School. In 2019, he received a Temporary Engagement Contract at Temora HS before being awarded a permanent position with the Department of Education. He is currently a Student Representative Council co-ordinator, Aboriginal Education Co-ordinator and member of various committees. He has worked with the Deputy Principal to make Aboriginal Education a high priority area in the school.



OSMEN Creative Design Award 

Zachary Hanna, 26 of Camperdown is an upcoming furniture and lighting designer. Zachary graduated with a Bachelor of Design in Integrated Product Design from the University of Technology in Sydney. While in Uni, he worked as a personal design assistant for the Head of Industrial Design and for a leading Australian furniture designer. He has established his own practice, working with Nau Design and winning awards such as the Cult Design Journey, Alessi design Award, Mercedes Benz Design Award and Good Design Awards, among others. Zachary employs a variety of self-taught skills and is committed to learning both technical and manual sides of his craft.



Qoin Small Business Achiever Award

Tara Jane Sargent, 26 of Earlwood launched TJ SWIM at the age of 21 from her parents’ laundry, using her savings and inspired by her love for minimalistic high fashion. The brand now has a global following and strong online presence - capturing the hearts of social media influencers and celebrities. In 2018 and 2019, Tara took TJ Swim to Miami Swim Week. To give back, TJ Swim has partnered with i=Change, allowing customers the opportunity to donate $1 from every sale to charity. The company also pledged to have 100% sustainability packaging by the end of 2021. In 2019, Tara was listed in the Forbes 30 under 30, Asia.


Danmark Health and Wellbeing Award

Elli Reinhard, 22 of Caringbah is passionate about educating and raising awareness on issues affecting Youth. As Peer Educator for Keep It Safe (KIS), Elli engages with people aged 12 to 24 around alcohol and other drugs minimisation strategies and raising awareness on their effects on mental health. She is also a Peer Educator at ReThink! Youth Anti Violence Project, helping address the lack of knowledge and understanding of the nature and causes of domestic and family violence. She facilitates workshops at schools and conducts outreach activities. Elli is also the Youth Ambassador for Sir David Martin Foundation, major philanthropic partner of Triple Care Farm, a rehabilitation program for alcohol and drug addiction