Tasmanian Young Achiever Awards

2019 Finalists


Colony 47 Transition to Work Award

Kelly Deane, 24 of SORELL was housebound for almost three years due to a debilitating chronic illness. This did not stop Kelly from completing a Diploma of Counselling, a unit in Research and Information Skills, and a Graduate Certificate of Case Management via distance learning. She has been offered to study a Master of Rehabilitation Counselling at Griffith University which she intends to undertake while working full-time. Kelly started as a volunteer with Mission Australia Education Employment Program. She now works for Mission Australia as a Personal Assistant where she enjoys the opportunity to support others in their work whilst helping the broader community

Alex Morris Baguley, 28 of LESLIE VALE is proof that a positive attitude can overcome challenges. Despite being diagnosed with several conditions, including Down Syndrome and ADHD, Alex’s family fought hard to ensure she had access to the same education and training opportunities as other people her age. After finishing Year 12, she worked at Australian Disability Enterprise. Alex then joined the Hamlet, Inc. training program where she learned about customer service. To date, Alex has become an integral member of the Hamlet team, completing more than 500 hours of work. She is now undertaking the advanced training model, learning Barista basics and further catering skills.

Dylan Wagner, 24 of ROKEBY took part in the Literacy and Numeracy program at Oakdale where he completed his Certificate I in IT. He is currently completing a Certificate II in Business, and attends 1 hour of Literacy Support per week. Wanting to start a garden maintenance business, OAK Possability Service Planner helped Dylan apply for an ABN, register and insure the business, design the logo and assisted with Social Media and advertising. He now works full time in his own business has several garden maintenance contracts and many clients. Dylan loves the outdoors, hands-on work and being his own boss.

Kyle Hodgman, 20 of AUSTINS FERRY has a passion for fitness. Born with Global Intellectual Disability and Autism, Kyle decided during secondary school to improve his health and lost 35 kgs. He then secured a work placement at YMCA where he shadowed qualified fitness instructors. His interest in the fitness industry inspired him to complete a Certificate III in Fitness through TAFE. He returned to volunteer at YMCA and is now employed to run classes. Kyle is completing his Certificate IV in Fitness to become a Personal Trainer. He has completed a barista course and is taking swimming instructor qualifications to gain more work opportunities.


Heather & Christopher Chong Community Service & Volunteering Award

Toby Thorpe, 17 of HUONVILLE is committed to sustainable development. As team manager of the Zayed Huon Energy Futures Team at Huonville High School, he has coordinated over 25 community events and helped the team win US$100,000 on behalf of the school. As Youth Coordinator of Education for Sustainability Tasmania, Toby organised the Youth Climate Leaders’ Conference, engaging over 300 student participants. As State Schools’ Coordinator for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, he launched the Student Climate Action Network and ignited interest on climate justice. Toby also organised and led the Tasmanian Youth Delegation to the 2018 UN Climate Change Conference of Parties in Poland.

Chloe Payne, 12 of NORWOOD extends warmth and comfort to bereaved siblings. After her friend’s 2 and a half year old brother Rhys tragically pass away, Chloe saw the impact that a death of a sibling caused. Chloe made friendship bands to raise money for a memorial and ‘Rally for Rhys’ sold 200 bands and raised $1,000. Following its success, Chloe continues to make friendship bands and sends them to bereaved siblings at no cost, in memory of Rhys. People nominate the recipients through Chloe’s Facebook page ‘Rally for Rhys’ Friendship Bands. For her commitment, Chloe was named the Fred Hollows Foundation Tasmanian Junior Ambassador.

Campbell Remess, 14 of ACTON PARK has handmade and gifted over 1,700 bears to children worldwide through his initiative, “Project 365 by Campbell”. He gives presents to children in hospital during Christmas and has helped raised $200,000 for charities. Campbell created Kindness Cruises, a charity which raises funds for surprise cruises for families impacted by cancer and other life-changing difficulties. He has released two books encouraging children to follow their dreams. He is also a regular speaker at schools where he discusses the impact of kindness as opposed to bullying. Campbell received the CNN Heroes, Young Wonder Award in 2016, the first Australia to do so.

Theo Kapodistrias, 28 of SANDY BAY works with the University of Tasmania, providing corporate legal assistance to academic and professional staff, and voluntary training seminars for students. Theo is Tasmanian President and Director of Association of Corporate Counsel Australia, Tasmanian Ambassador for Business Events Tasmania and a member of the Lenah Valley Action Team Committee. He was President of the Student Legal Service, an organisation that offeres Migration Advisory Service to international students. An award-winning lawyer, Theo won the Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Award in both 2017 and 2018 and was named 2018 Education Lawyer of the Year at the Corporate Counsel Awards.


Spirit of Tasmania Tourism and Hospitality Award

Elias Solis, 29 of NEW TOWN wants to bring Latin culture to Hobart. A son of Chilean emigrant parents, he established the Yambu café, a vibrant home for Latin American food, culture and music. Over the last decade, Elias has initiated events celebrating Latin American culture where he was either a producer, leader, musical director or key player in Latin American bands. He organised Pop-Up Day of the Dead Festivals. Elias organised workshops in percussion and hosted Spanish language classes and organised fundraising events for study tours to Cuba for young Tasmanians. He is also a key member of the Latin American Cultural Association of Tasmania.

Alexandra Turner, 24 of ROSETTA has a passion for serving good food and showcasing Tasmanian produce. She is the resident Pastry Chef at the Old Wharf Restaurant in MACq 01 Hotel. Alexandra is responsible for the various baked treats offered by the restaurant especially in the breakfast buffet, which is the highlight of guests’ experience. Any excess from the buffet is donated to people experiencing homelessness and mental health issues. Alexandra completed a two-year Pastry Chef Apprenticeship after beginning her cooking career at age 16. In 2018, Old Wharf won Best Restaurant in a Hotel or Accommodation Venue at the Tasmanian Hospitality Association Awards for Excellence.

Mariska Scerri, 20 of RAILTON overcame her anxiety and depression and found her calling in fudge-making. At Fudge ’n’ Good Coffee, Mariska undertook rigorous training to firstly become a retail assistant and then a fudge maker being quickly promoted to Head Fudge Maker. She has implemented changes and uses her creative talent to create new varieties such as Vanilla Malt Milkshake and Pina Colada. Business growth has doubled and customer satisfaction has increased with a 4.5 Trip Advisor rating and many great reviews. Mariska also helps in fundraisers by distributing charity fudge to organisations like Devonport Regatta, Lions Club and Rural Health.

Freya Downie, 14 of GRETNA has a flair for entrepreneurship. At 12, she started “Freya’s Delights,” selling caramel sauce, with minimal guidance, setting up her own tax file number, ABN and business name. Freya’s Dad was given a special condition on his Dairy Farm License to supply milk to Freya’s Delights. Her products now include quince paste, fig paste, preserved lemon and pickled walnuts. With a passion for giving back, Freya raised money for Head Heart Hand Holidays, a Cambodian organisation providing school children access to fresh water. Freya was recently interviewed for the next Women on the Island, a series of short online documentaries.


TADPAC Print Service to the Disability Sector Award

Matthew Etherington, 23 of SANDY BAY is committed to helping people experiencing disability and disadvantage in his community. Matthew helps promote healthier communities through the Big Issue Community Street Soccer Program, using sports to empower and improve the lives of the disadvantaged. He organised a Mental Health First Aid Initiative at UTAS to prepare over 330 students to exercise self-care, promote mental health and encourage peer support. He is a national Youth Health Forum member and former Head of Welfare at UN Youth and the Tasmanian Youth Local Government. Matthew also led the organising committee of the Red Cross Social Connectedness Summit during Mental Health Week 2018.

Dakoda Leary, 20 of CHIGWELL is committed to removing the stigma around mental health in the community. After overcoming his own personal bout with depression with help from Headspace Hobart, he started volunteering for Headspace to improve its service to young people suffering mental health issues. He joined the Glenorchy Youth Task Force, a special committee of the Glenorchy City. Dakoda is a volunteer for Youth Network of Tasmania and a full-time Uni student. He was awarded a Human Rights Week Youth Award and the 2017 Glenorchy Young Citizen of the Year. He was also a 2018 Young Tasmanian Australian of the Year nominee.

Lauren Burnes, 27 of ST HELENS has a physical and cognitive disability, but this doesn’t stop her from being actively involved in her community. She volunteers at the Child and Family Centre, supporting young children in a playgroup environment. The children absolutely love her positive and bubbly attitude and many parents commend her on her excellent nature. Despite being new to the neighbourhood, Lauren already volunteers at the community Op Shop and Woodshed Shop and attends community events such as Eating with Friends and Riding for the Disabled. She organised a fundraising event to achieve a young man’s dream to attend an event in Melbourne.

Karita Casimaty, 29 of MOONAH was the first Tasmanian to develop and offer the internationally recognised Duke of Edinburgh Award to young people diagnosed with a disability. She has successful delivered the program since 2015, showcasing her leadership skills, and ensuring that clear expectations and guidelines were outlined from the beginning. In 2018, Karita was asked to deliver a speech to His Royal Highness Prince Edward at Government House during the royal visit, explaining the benefits of the award to young people with disability. Karita is currently the Oakdale Training Service Supervisor, planning and delivering transition to work training to young adults diagnosed with a disability.


Dental South Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Achievement Award

Denni Proctor, 26 of WEST LAUNCESTON is sharing Aboriginal culture through the arts. A proud Trawlwoolway woman, Denni is a singer, songwriter, performer and visual artist who makes sure that her identity always shines through her work. She studied at the Centre of Aboriginal Studies in Music at Adelaide University and returned to Tasmania to work as an Aboriginal Education Officer before becoming a full-time artist. Denni recently completed a five month Terrapin Puppet Theatre tour around Tasmania playing over 150 Aboriginal cultural performances of the show “A Not So Traditional Story” to 19,000 children. Denni plans to start a puppet making traineeship in 2019.

Mia King, 17 of EAST LAUNCESTON was selected for the 2018 Tasmanian U18 State Australian Women’s Football League team and was awarded MVP at the state championships. She also gained selection for both the All Stars Championships in 2017 and 2018. Mia is an academic achiever who contributes to school community by coaching basketball and football to younger students and emerging athletes. She likes sharing her grandmother’s story publicly to help Australians understand what happened to the stolen generation and how it affected their families. She hopes to be drafted in the AFLW and be accepted to study physiotherapy and occupational therapy in 2019.

Zac Romagnoli-Townsend, 25 of NUBEENA advocates for climate justice. A proud Mutwintje man, he is a coordinator for the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Justice Network. As part of the Network, he coordinates ten young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander volunteers and collaborates with the local Australian Youth Climate Coalition with non-Indigenous volunteers. Zac helps facilitate national trainings, gatherings and campaigns as a member of the national core Seed team. One campaign successfully prevented bank funding of an Adani coal mine. Zac facilitates and speaks in workshops and grassroots community organisations to build a social movement to keep all new fossil fuels in the ground.

Grace Williams, 20 of BLACKMANS BAY is advocating for cultural safety, juvenile justice and social health. She was lead spokesperson for Aboriginal youth on the board of Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, Tasmania. Grace was project coordinator for the group “Healing through the Art of Yarning,” which led to a national resource in prevention of violence against women and children. She has been involved in governance training, mental health first aid, youth mentoring and community development in Leprena. She has worked with government agencies and not-for-profits around capacity building, aboriginal culture and the importance of aboriginal story. Grace won one of the Keeping Australia Beautiful Awards.


St.LukesHealth Healthier Communities Award

Dr Daniel Hoyle, 29 of NEW TOWN is dedicated to improving healthcare. His PhD research promoted the appropriate use of sedating medications in aged care facilities showing clinical benefits for residents and savings for the government. Daniel is a qualified consultant geriatric pharmacist and was a clinical pharmacist with North West Regional Hospital and a locum pharmacist. He lectures for the Bachelor of Pharmacy program and teaching responsibilities in the Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery program. Daniel uses modern technology such as smart phones, tablets and laptops to increase the engagement of students and make improvements based on metrics from an online learning platform.

Matthew Etherington, 23 of SANDY BAY is committed to helping people experiencing disability and disadvantage in his community. Matthew helps promote healthier communities through the Big Issue Community Street Soccer Program, using sports to empower and improve the lives of the disadvantaged. He organised a Mental Health First Aid Initiative at UTAS to prepare over 330 students to exercise self-care, promote mental health and encourage peer support. He is a national Youth Health Forum member and former Head of Welfare at UN Youth and the Tasmanian Youth Local Government. Matthew also led the organising committee of the Red Cross Social Connectedness Summit during Mental Health Week 2018.

Brittany Chatwin, 25 of BURNIE advocates for positive change for young people. She develops workshops at Youth, Family & Community Connections, aimed to prompt positive choices and conversations amongst young people. Delivered to high schools, colleges and upper primary students, programs include “The Sexting Workshop” which focuses on young people’s digital footprint and being safe online. Brittany wrote a program called “#LikeAGIRL” which aims to motivate young people to be comfortable in their own skin and make positive/healthy life style choices. As Drug and Alcohol Youth Counsellor, Brittany helps families impacted by substance abuse and helps young people who have disengaged from mainstream schooling.

Dr Rosie Clark, 29 of TAROONA is a neuroscientist and researcher at the UTAS Menzies Institute for Medical Research. During her PhD and post-doctoral fellowship, she identified novel changes in specific inhibitory brain cells that contribute to the development and progression of Motor Neuron Disease and helped identify a novel therapeutic compound for treatment of the disease. Rosie has published five papers, received the Bill Gole MND fellowship and won the 2015 Scientific Poster Prize for outstanding biomedical MND research. She volunteers in the National Brain Bee Challenge, a program for year 10 students and undertakes school workshops in the Young Tassie Scientist’s Community Program.


University of Tasmania, Faculty of Education Teaching Excellence Award

Luke Tepper, 26 of SUMMERHILL is an innovative teacher. He teaches Health and Physical Education, Sport Science, Mathematics and SOSE at Queechy High School. He takes opportunities to promote positive school culture and inclusivity to his students. Luke was Ambassador for #NeverOk, which fights against sexual harassment and abuse. He is Queechy High School’s peer support coordinator for student camps and health and lifestyle activities. He coaches touch football, football and basketball and was the girls’ cricket ambassador. Luke was nominated for the Officemax ‘A Day Made Better’ Outstanding Teacher Award. He also plays AFL for the South Launceston Bulldogs.

Ashleigh Devereux, 27 of LUTANA is an enthusiastic approach to all aspects of school life. A primary school teacher with a Master’s degree in teaching, she teaches kinder, prep and upper primary students at Richmond Primary School. Ashleigh uses her own background learning to teach music, dance and drama to help students grow in confidence, learn new skills and work together. She introduced innovative strategies in teaching such as local excursions, events and guest speakers, and use of smart phones and computer apps to improve parental engagement. Ashleigh also encourages students to help the less fortunate and embraces a ‘Building a Feedback Culture’.

Thomas Coad, 28 of TRANMERE holds a passion for STEM and a desire to educate the 21st century learner. He has a Master’s degree in teaching from UTAS where he graduated in the Dean’s Honour Roll, recipient of the John Andrew Johnson Memorial Prize and Valedictorian. Thomas brings his experiences in the field of Marine and Antarctic Science to engage his students and strives to incorporate technology and encourages his students to discover authentic solutions. He was elected chairperson of RoboCup Junior Tasmania, an organisation where students engage in hands-on collaborative problem solving. He helped organise both the Southern Regional and the State RoboCup Junior Competition.

Grace Birchall, 24 of SHEARWATER is a compassionate teacher. She teaches English, Geography and Dance at Ulverstone High School. During lunch hours, Grace teaches students who wish to dance outside normal class schedules, and coordinates song and dance performances in a community theatre. During weekends, Grace teaches persons with Down Syndrome at the Bright Stars Troupe, helping to release their inhibitions and perform at community functions. She attends professional development opportunities, continuously seeks feedback about her teaching capabilities and is always the first to implement different classroom strategies. Grace provides an inviting environment, empathises with her individual students and implements mindfulness in her room.


First National Real Estate Leadership Award

Samuel Watson, 18 of ULVERSTONE is an advocate for LGBTIQ rights. He was Head Boy and Student Representative at The Friends’ School providing a strong focus on diversity. A senior Navy Cadet, Samuel mentored ten refugees through a ten-day Rotary Windeward Bound Youth Leadership Challenge. He is an Advisory Group member for the Commission for Children and Young People and served on the Hobart Youth Advisory Squad. As 2018 Youth Deputy Premier, his group passed a Gender Equality Bill that was handed to Government. He has also patrolled Tasmanian beaches for over 250 hours and has been his club’s Surf Life Saver of the Year.

Ee Jon Yeoh, 27 of SOUTH HOBART is a dedicated educator and community leader. A migrant and transgender woman born and raised in Malaysia, EJ worked for University of Tasmania Peer Assisted Study Sessions program and represented UTAS at the national conference. She graduated with BSc First Class Honours in Zoology and received the Winifred Curtis and RACI Prize and Tasmanian and Zoology Honours Scholarships. An active member of the Malaysian community, she is an International Student Adviser and a tutor with the Migrant Resource Centre. EJ is the Stakeholder and Partnerships Director for Tasmanian United Nations Association of Australia Young Professionals.

Grace Williams, 21 of GRANTON is the Founder and Director of Citizen, a human rights advocacy group. She is a graduate of Law, Economics, Politics and Philosophy and a Global Leaders Scholar at the University of Tasmania. She was a former Youth Ambassador for the Anglican Board of Missions to Papua New Guinea. Grace represented Tasmania last year as Junior Fellow and Ambassador for “6 Degrees” in Toronto, “6 Degrees” connects thinkers and doers to drive the global conversation on inclusion and citizenship. She established a professionally accredited Animal Assisted Therapy team to help people with trauma. Grace won the 2018 Tasmanian Human Rights Youth Award.

Cameron Scott, 26 of MORNINGTON is a dedicated community leader and volunteer. He is the President of Make-A-Wish, Hobart Branch, leading 30 volunteers in granting wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. He has helped organise fundraisers totalling over $400,000. Cameron has been a youth mentor with Edmund Rice Camps Tasmania, participating in over 15 programs for the disadvantaged. He volunteers for the Australian Human Resources Institute Tasmanian State Council as Vice President for Membership. He was part of the Hays National Federal Government Advisory Group and the National Charity Committee. Cameron is also an Army Reserve infantry soldier with an additional role in Public Affairs.


Motors Tasmania Sports Award

Anya Louw, 18 of AMBLESIDE is a member of the Tasmanian Institute of Sport Women’s Racing Team. She takes part in events such as ‘Sally’s Ride’ to promote cycling and support youth mental health. She is currently the Ambassador of the Tasmanian LetsRide program, teaching children the important skills that come with basic cycling. In 2018, Anya placed 1st in the U19 State Time Trials and Oceania Road Championships Time Trials, and the Devon 80 Road Race women’s division. She represented Australia in the Junior World Road Cycling Championships and was part of the UniSA Australian Elite Women’s Team for the Tour Down Under event.

Daniel Watkins, 23 of GROVE and is a competitive athlete who has had an outstanding year in both Kayak and Canoe Slalom. He was selected to represent Australia in the U23 World Championships where he placed a creditable 6th in the C1 and 14th in the K1. He won gold in the U23 Aus Open K1 and the Nationals K1 and C1 divisions. Daniel’s biggest achievement to date is winning in the U23 K1 and C1 divisions at 2018 Oceania Championships in Auckland. He makes sure to give back to the community by volunteering his time to help coach and mentor junior paddlers in Hobart.

Kate Eckhardt, 21 of WEST HOBART has been representing Australia since 2013 in Canoe Slalom. She has achieved two individual Junior World Championship medals and multiple top 10 finishes in Junior, U23 and Senior categories. She was part of the Senior women’s K1 team who won the first ever Australian medal in the K1 class in the 2017 World Championship. Kate coaches developing athletes at a state and national level, passing on her knowledge. She recently presented the athlete acknowledgement during the Tasmanian Institute of Sport scholarship announcement to thank the organisation. Kate works hard to balance being a university student, casual worker, and elite athlete.