7NEWS Young Achiever Awards WA

2020 Finalists

First National Real Estate Innovation Award

Tara Lord, 21 of East Fremantle is changing the world, one paw at a time. With a holistic approach, Tara created an initiative that uses Animal Assisted Therapy. She adopted her dog Loki from a rescue shelter aiming to help both animals and people. Tara and Loki travelled to Melbourne to be certified as an accredited therapy team and have since regularly visited mental health facilities, family group homes, disability homes, homeless housing and schools. The program has led to a 21% decrease in medications at a mental health hospital. They aspire to build a fully established therapy ranch with rescue animals whilst supporting local businesses and people.


Iris Smit, 24 of Subiaco is revolutionising the beauty industry. Iris created The Quick Flick, a unique eyeliner tool that combines a wing stamp with a felt tip eyeliner pen. Within the first year, the product earned attention from multiple media agencies and beauty influencers. Iris is an interior architecture graduate who used her skills and own struggles with drawing the perfect winged eyeliner to create an original product design, logo, packaging and website. Her appearance on Shark Tank saw her revenue grow by 5,000%. In 2019, Iris won EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 (Emerging Female Category, WA Region) and Momentum Visionary Woman of the Year.


Alexis McDonald, 18 of West Lamington is empowering women to embrace their selves. After noticing other girls and herself go through hard times at school, Alexis created HerHelp, an interactive platform that aims to support, encourage and guide young women through daily challenges. Now with over 3,300 users, Alexis hopes for the mobile App to create a safe space for girls. She has been interviewed on ABC radio and has talked on a panel for South West Web Girls about careers for Women in STEM and at the Woman in Technology Conference. Alexis works at a local fish and chip shop and funds HerHelp with her savings.


Jordan Foster, 29 of Sorrento is a Cyber Safety Expert and Clinical Psychologist, known for her work in cyberbullying education and treatment of tech-related issues such as gaming addiction. She founded ySafe, a company providing cyber safety education to families around Perth. In 2018, Jordan educated over 150,000 students, 50,000 parents and 25,000 corporate staff across Australia. She co-authored a digital parenting book, lectured to general practitioners, and was the go-to media commentator about children and technology. Jordan co-developed a psychometric assessment tool to quantify security vulnerabilities. In 2019, Jordan opened a clinical practice specialising in mental health and technology, the first in WA.


Town of Victoria Park Arts and Culture Award

Sukhjit Kaur Khalsa, 25 of Mt Lawley is passionate about diversity and visibility in performing arts. A first-generation Australian Sikh, Sukhjit is a spoken-word artist, educator, performer and human rights reformer. She has gone from performing at the Opera House for the Australian Poetry Slam Competition to performing on national television and speaking at TedxUWA. Sukhjit has been a keynote speaker in forums and conferences promoting the arts and the spoken word genre, including Young Sikh Professional Network Brisbane, Centre for Multicultural Youth Forum and Fresh Words Speech Awards. In 2019, she was co-commissioned to write and perform Fully Sikh, a play celebrating family and Sikh culture.


Eric Clarke, 26 of Leeming earned their Certificate IV in visual arts and crafts in 2015 and had their first exhibition in “For the Lonely” while taking their Associate Degree of Visual Arts at North Metropolitan TAFE. The use of patchwork and quilting in fine arts and other multidisciplinary processes influenced their art. Eric had their first solo show called “I’mprint” at Cool Change Contemporary ARI, where the process of printmaking and repetition suited the notions of crafts and community. Currently a visual arts and design technician, they have represented their work in Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Fremantle Art Centre and Midland Junction Arts Centre.


Scott Elstermann, 25 of Kardinya is a Junior Australasian Jazz Champion and Youth Queensland Ballroom Dancesport Champion. During his Year 12 WACE exams, he was accepted into the Bachelor of Arts (Dance) at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Scott has performed for leading dance artists and won the Overall Dance and Physical Theatre Award at the 2016 Perth Fringe World Festival. He was audition dance assistant for Matilda: The Musical, Artistic Team Leader for Ausdance WA and teaching artist for the West Australian Ballet. In 2018, Scott became the first Australian and youngest ever to receive the Pina Bausch Fellowship for Dance and Choreography.


Christopher Dolkens, 27 served 13 months for drug charges. Whilst serving his time, he participated in a performing arts program. He enrolled in the prison’s Justice and Equity Through Art (JETA) program, a Fine Arts program in partnership with Curtin University. After his release in 2017, he started his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and created a short stop-motion animation video during his first semester at Curtin. He furthers his artistic expressions using digital photography, sculpture, print-making, performance art and videography. Christopher continued his theatre and has been in two performances, further exploring self-awareness. In 2019, he won the Rottnest Show Residency Award.


Elders Agricultural Achievement Award

Blake McFarlane, 14 of Forest Hill started Blake’s Chooks and Eggs in 2017 as a hobby. In 2019, it became an ethical, sustainable, free-ranging egg farm, with show breeding and winning stock. Blake provides over 200 dozen of eggs to the Great Southern and uses social media to make poultry farming fun and educational. He held his first open day to the Plantagenet Probus Group and explained what he does when it comes to preparing and showing his chooks. Although dyslexic, Blake learns from doing and being mentored. He is about to be in the Little Entrepreneurs section of a book called Little Farmers by Kim Storey.


Kayla Evans – Generation Ag, 26 of Perth is committed to uniting primary industries. Kayla is a passionate young agriculturalist who co-founded Generation Ag, a podcasting platform that celebrates stories of people working in all areas of primary industries, with a focus on the next generation. The podcast hopes to bridge the ‘rural-urban divide’ while tackling bigger issues such as gender issues in agriculture and mental health. The podcast has so far amassed 3,000 downloads, interviewed over 16 guests and has gained listeners in over five countries. In 2020, they plan to run workshops to teach other agribusinesses how to run podcasts and speak to millennials and Generation Z.


Tiffany Davey, 23 of Konnongorring hopes to make an impact to as many people as possible. Tiffany is based at her family’s 5th generation prime lab and broadacre property whilst working for Dowerin Events Management. She mentors students to pursue a career in Agriculture and has taken part in the Harmony Day Cookbook. Tiffany has launched a consumer awareness App and published a book called “Five Thousand More to Go.” She helped relaunch the Yarak Bachelors & Spinsters Ball. She is President of AgConnectWA and Founder and President of the Royal Agricultural Society WA-NextGen Committee. In 2018, she was named the Koorda Rural Ambassador.


James Bidstrup, 22 of ESPERANCE is helping bridge the metro-rural information gap. James established the KL & ML Bidstrup Scholarship at Denmark Agricultural College to support students financially for extracurricular activities to further their agricultural education. He was selected as a Future Young Leader and spoke at the inaugural EvokeAG Conference. James captained the team that won the 2018 Dowerin Field Days Young Farmers Challenge. He volunteers with the Perth Royal Show, Williams Expo and Eagin Woolarama to improve his skills and support the industry. Whilst studying at the University of Western Australia, he was the education officer of UWA Guild Club Students of Natural and Agricultural Science.


Woolworths Youth Group Achievement Award

Robe River Kuruma Youth Council of Karratha is dedicated to providing support to young people. Following a number of youth suicides, Daniel Farmer established the Robe River Kuruma Youth Council to discuss how to combat youth issues. They have since developed a youth case management team to further youth education, gain employment and seek help. The Youth Council will create a Pilbara Aboriginal Youth Council and work with local and state government to develop a Pilbara Youth Report and Pilbara Youth Strategy Plan as a co-designed solution. The Youth Council has developed a Financial Literacy Program and Life Skills Program and plans to employ Aboriginal Peer Educators.


Tom Price Emergency Services Cadet Corps of Tom Price is committed to community volunteerism. Developed in 2000 by CadetsWA for youth aged 12 to 18, Tom Price Emergency Services Cadet Corps offers a program that promotes skill development and leadership skills through emergency services. The program aims to encourage the youth to transition into Volunteer Emergency Services in the future and has benefitted Tom Price, Paraburdoo and the Wakathuni Aboriginal Community. Over the past five years, 21 cadets have transitioned into the services of SES, St John Ambulance, Fire and Rescue and the Bush Fire Brigade, with the Cadet Unit completing over 14,000 hours of community service.


Youth Diversity Alliance of Success advocates for inclusion. YDA is a social support group for diverse sexualities and genders, ensuring inclusion and providing a safe space for people of the LGBTQIA+ community between 15 and 24 years old. They organise a Pride Event and have helped with events such as the Spring Fair & FROSH Youth Festival. A facilitator employed by Cockburn Youth Centre, where YDA is based, oversees nights and events and a group of Peer Mentors who run activities and alert youth workers when individuals need support. They work in synergy with Cockburn Youth Services and have previously hosted LivingWork’s SafeTALK Suicide Prevention Workshop.


Busselton Jetty Crew of Busselton promotes involvement and a sense of purpose. With a passion for marine environment and conversation, the Jetty Crew is a voluntary group of eight youth leaders aged 16 to 19, with a heart focused on environmental sustainability. They commenced an 8-month youth leadership program that was developed by the Busselton Jetty Incorporation. This organisation manages the Busselton Jetty, a 154-year-old iconic tourist attraction. Collectively, the Busselton Jetty Crew has volunteered 584 hours, benefiting the local community. They initiate and assist in events like Beach Clean Up for Plastic Free, Tangaroa Blue Marine Debris Clean-Up Day and the BJI Annual General Meeting.


Masonic Care WA/Freemasons WA Community Service and Volunteering Award

Courtney Marie Gratteri, 28 of Cardup is dedicated to serving and supporting the most vulnerable young people. Courtney led Back to Country camps and early intervention programs, helping Aboriginal children learn about Nyoongar culture, build confidence and independence and to spend time with Nyoongar elders. A strong believer in the power of education and creating safe spaces, she co-designed Strong Hearts, Strong Minds workshops to help benefit young people’s social and mental wellbeing. Courtney works for a leading CARE Schools for Catholic Education WA and has piloted a Transition to Adult Life project. She was recognised in the Catholic Education Department’s 2017 LEAD and 2019 Young Leadership Awards.


Alex Arnold, 25 of Lathlain has contributed to improving the mental, social and emotional wellbeing of men. Alex created a mobile App called “Well Man” for the Men’s Resource Centre in Albany during his internship with the McCusker Centre for Citizenship at UWA. He worked full-time on the App for four weeks. He continued working whilst at Uni for 11 months, completing his postgraduate degree in Software Engineering. Alex has dedicated 500 volunteer hours on the “Well Man” project. Available on iOS and Android, the App has been downloaded thousands of times in the United States, Canada, India, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Australia.


Maddison Chinnery, 17 of Kalgoorlie formed “Sparkles and Twinkles”, where she and her sister dress as fairy princesses to entertain children of all ages and abilities and support business and community events. Their purpose evolved into a means to help people and advocate for children with special needs and others with intellectual disabilities. Maddison is now Treasurer of Sparkles and Twinkles, Goldfields. They help raise funds for charities and non-profits by selling goods, donating time or participating in activities. Madison has been volunteering at Kalgoorlie-Boulder Chamber of Commerce since 2016. An avid horse enthusiast, she aims to promote horse therapy for people struggling with mental illness.


Ashleigh Gibson, 22 of Bentley is an advocate for children with disability. Ashleigh volunteers at Perth’s Children’s Hospital (PCH), where she had been a patient since she was six months old. Despite her severe Scoliosis and severe lung disease, Ashleigh has been helping kids to be calm and entertained while they wait for their surgery at PCH. She is on the Disability Advisory Board of the new Children’s Hospital and attends monthly board meetings. She has been directly involved in making sure that the hospital is accessible and follows the Disability Inclusion Act. Ashleigh is currently completing her third year of Uni, studying Primary School Teaching.


Tradie Business Blueprint Trades Business Award

Monique Juratovac, 20 of Lesmurdie is passionate about excelling in bricklaying. Monique is completing her Certificate III (apprenticeship) in bricklaying at Celebration Homes as part of ABN Training. In 2019, she won the Group Bricklayer of the Year Award and Overall Gold Medal in the WorldSkills Perth Competition, becoming the first female to win in WA. She was named Bricklayer of the Year and Second Runner up for the 1st Year Apprentice of the Year at the ABN annual Awards. Before starting her TAFE block, Monique was a qualified hairdresser and makeup artist who had three years of apprenticeship and a Certificate III in Makeup.


Leif Coplin, 26 of Malaga is passionate about building partnerships and employment. German-born, Leif began as a mechanic at Stokes and Renk whilst in Year 11. He paid his TAFE fees with his small earnings whilst supporting his family. He completed his apprenticeship at 3MW and stayed on as mechanic and attended training in America. Together with his colleague, Pierre, they started German Motor Works, a Mobile Service Van business. Leif developed his own computer system to repair certain electronic issues in European cars. He is a relief teacher at TAFE and has provided DIY workshops on daily caretaking of vehicles for the public.


Ashleigh Hiemstra, 29 of High Wycombe is helping promote, inspire and encourage females to enter the industry. Ashleigh is a qualified carpenter, registered building practitioner and Owner and Director of a registered building company, Merge Building. Before starting her apprenticeship, she completed her diploma of Building and Construction – Builder’s registration. She spent three years as apprentice at her dad’s business, Banken Building Carpenters. After seven years, she applied for a building practitioner’s license, which led to her forming Merge Building in August 2018. Ashleigh is a member of Trade-Up Australia, National Association of Women in Construction, Fusion Biz Co (female networking group), and Housing Industry Association.


Ivan Darazs, 23 of Perth displays natural initiative and work ethics. Ivan began doing casual labouring work after high school and then worked fulltime for a commercial property developer whilst completing his Construction Management Degree at Curtin University. Ivan started as a cadet at a commercial construction fit-out company and worked his way up to a Contract Administrator role. After graduating, Ivan co-established Veritruss, a commercial construction fit-out business that has turned over $2.5M within the first eight months of trade, working with both commercial and government clients. A committee member at Young Builders Alliance, Ivan received the 2019 Master Builders Ric New Rising Star Award.


Catholic Education Western Australia Young Leadership Award

Courtney Marie Gratteri, 28 of Cardup is a passionate youth worker at one of Perth’s leading CARE Schools. Courtney co-designed and led Strong Hearts Strong Minds workshops to benefit young people’s social, emotional and mental wellbeing. She led Back to County camps and early intervention programs, helping Aboriginal children learn about Nyoongar culture and to encourage time spent with Nyoongar elders. Courtney was Finalist at the Armadale Community Citizen of the Year Award 2018 and Auspires 2020 Young Australia of the Year Award. She was recognised at the Catholic Education Department’s 2017 LEAD and 2019’s Young Leadership Awards and was Anglicare’s 2019 Most Professional Youth Worker of the Year.


Luke Cotellessa, 13 of The Vines is a positive role model for his peers. Luke established “Luke’s Boots For the Outback”, a charitable initiative where he collected and distributed over 8,000 pairs of boots and sporting items to children in remote WA communities and regional schools. Luke is a 2018 WA AFL state player. He is a member of the SMASHCREW Sports Show on Noongar Radio, where he discusses sports statistics, attends community events and performs various tasks including camera management and assisting DJs. Luke has been a recipient of the End-of-Year Principal Award for three consecutive years and Student Leader and Commitment to Learning Awards.


Amber Ramage, 18 of East Bunbury has a passion for making her school better. Amber was selected as Bunbury Senior High School’s 2019 Prefect and Head Girl. She established the Eco Club, encouraging the school to adopt a more sustainable approach and introduced a “three-bin system” for recycling plastics. Amber is a lifeguard at South Wear Sports Centre and a basketball coach of an under 14 girls’ team. She has arranged for a group of 18-year-old students to donate blood to the Bunbury Blood Bank and introduced coat racks to help the homeless. She organised a Year 12 ‘Sleep Out for Homeless’ to raise awareness about homelessness.


Kendall Whyte, 26 of Cottesloe is raising mental wellbeing awareness. Kendall created a platform and social movement called “The Blue Tree Project”, which has helped start many difficult conversations around mental health with young people, reduce the stigma and save lives. They have painted over 350 trees and their message, “It’s OK to not be OK”, has reached millions over Australia and the world. Kendall works out of Riff, a collaborative space that hosts events, assisting start-ups and social enterprises. She has attended a two-day conference by the WA Association for Mental Health. Kendall is a Western Australian of the Year Award, Youth category finalist.


Surge Fitness Sports Award

Tegan Reder, 16 of Cloverdale holds multiple Australian Records in 50m and 100m breaststroke, freestyle and backstroke, 200m breaststroke, despite being completely blind and never having had vision. Tegan holds Open Australian Records long course in 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke, and a short course in 50m and 100m breaststroke and 50m freestyle. Tegan competed in the Australian Open Age Long Course Nationals in 2019. She represented St Norbert College and is being coached to Paralympic level by a college swim coach. Tegan has been accepted in the Australian Dolphins Swim Team Development Squad, the only one from WA to be accepted for 2019.


Mark Daniels, 26 of Wandi displays great mental and physical strength. After losing his leg in a motorbike accident in 2015, Mark decided to see how far he could push himself. Formerly in the Royal Australian Navy, he returned to Snowboarding, Powerlifting, Wakeboarding and Obstacle Course Racing and competed at the 24 Hour World Championships, Para triathlon and Para canoe and became first Australian amputee to compete in Biathlon. Mark has appeared in the Australian Ninja Warrior and was an Australian representative in the 2018 Invictus Games, winning gold in Wheelchair Rugby and bronze in indoor rowing. He won multiple medals in the 2019 Warrior Games in Florida.


Scott Elstermann, 25 of Kardinya began dancing at age seven and became the Junior Australasian Jazz Champion and Youth Queensland Ballroom Dancesport Champion. He has been accepted into the Bachelor of Arts (Dance) at the WA Academy of Performing Arts and has performed for leading artists. He has choreographed short works, winning Overall Dance and Physical Theatre Award at the 2016 Perth Fringe World Festival. He was Audition Dance Assistant for “ Matilda: The Musical”, Artistic Team Leader for Ausdance WA and Teaching Artist for West Australian Ballet. In 2018, Scott became the first Australian to receive the Germany-based Pina Bausch Fellowship for Dance and Choreography.


Rhiannon Clarke, 17 of Kingsley bravely overcomes her disability. Rhiannon has Cerebral Palsy, which means her muscles are tight and weak and easily get fatigued. Despite that, she is a full-time student and elite athlete of track and field. Rhiannon won Silver at the Commonwealth Games 2018, Gold at Arafura Games 2019, and Bronze at the World Para Athletics Championships 2019. She holds multiple national records, and was a 2019 WA Sports Star Awards Finalist. Rhiannon received the National Athlete Support Structure – Athletics Australia and West Australian Institute of Sport IASP Athletics Scholarship 2018-2020. She has completed education programs on nutrition, recovery, personal excellence and mental strength.


Awards Australia Regional Service Award

Tom Price Emergency Services Cadet Corps of Tom Price is committed to upholding a culture of community volunteerism. The Cadet Unit trains every Tuesday night during school term, with many completing other emergency services each week. In 2018, the Cadet Unit completed 3,375 hours of community service and 3,500 hours in 2019, supporting community events within Paraburdoo, Tom Price and the Wakathuni Aboriginal Community. Cadets undergo training in general rescue, leadership, water safety, fire safety and team-building skills. Year 8 cadets complete their Provide First Aid Certificate and Year 7 cadets complete their resuscitation certificates. All cadets complete their Bronze Cross Medallion or Star Water qualifications.


Shaun Kay, 29 of Bindoon is creating awareness around the importance of self-care and mental health. After struggling for years with his own mental health, Shaun created SMILE TEACHERS. The company helps teachers look after themselves physically and mentally. They run workshops with students on mindfulness, breathing activities and exercise all over Australia. Shaun’s online professional development day course can be accessed by teachers 24/7. He helps teachers understand why some students act out and misbehave and gives them tools to support their students. He runs a teachers’ retreat in Bali twice a year. Shaun is a qualified physical education, health, science and maths teacher.


Ashlee Jenal, 25 of Broome is committed to helping the vulnerable and disadvantaged. Ashlee is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Kimberley region, working in Broome Circle, a community and neighbourhood centre that works to develop a thriving, inclusive and welcoming community. She supports, attains, refers and inducts a multifaceted range of volunteers for 26 non-profit agencies that require extra support. Ashlee delivers information and opportunities through workshops and has implemented referral systems to address issues that Broome faces. She coordinates the community verge garden and shares knowledge about harvesting seasonal produce to disadvantaged community members to assist with food security. Ashlee hopes to establish youth mentoring programs.


Claudia Nagy, 25 of Kambalda believes confidence is the key to succeeding in life. As Director of One Tree Kambalda Children’s Service in Goldfields, Claudia builds relationships with families, children, staff and the broader community. She has led the curriculum planning to deliver quality care to children and promotes inclusion support. As part of the local modelling academy, Claudia teaches young girls confidence and the fundamentals of runway and photographic modelling, assisting the girls during performances and also conducts local artists workshops. She has set up a donations box for the local S.A.F.E. Kalgoorlie at the centre to donate to the local animal charity for Christmas.