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Meet our 2023 Young, Black and Proud scholarship winners

This year we received a record number of applications and awarded 43 scholarships across South East Queensland and the Torres Strait. Our Young, Black and Proud Scholarship program supports and celebrates our young mob who exhibit outstanding talent in the arts, sport or academic fields.

We partnered with the Queensland Family & Child Commission (QFFC) for a third year in a row and with their funding contribution continued to offer the program statewide. We also partnered with minor sponsor the Michael Cassel Group who provided two of our arts category winners with their funds.

Arts Category Winners

Marcellus Burns

Proud Kubin Moa and Boigu man Marcellus has a passion for art and a vision for his own online business. He can see his artwork on t-shirts, mugs, canvases and even as tattoos and with a Young, Black and Proud scholarship he’s one step closer to making that dream a reality. He plans to use his funds to purchase necessary equipment to create digital art to fill his online store.

Martika McGowan

Proud Tjungundi woman Martika is a dedicated and passionate dancer with a dream to become a professional dancer and one day own her own studio. In 2022 Martika was named one of Brisbane’s Best Young Dancers by the South-East Advertiser. Martika plans to use her funds to complete a certificate four in dance with Dance Force.

Aria Clemment-Kennedy

Singing, dancing and acting, proud Trawlwoolway woman Aria is a triple threat of a performer and she’s well on her way to becoming a star. Recently, Aria made the move from Victoria to Brisbane to pursue her passion with the Aboriginal Centre for Performing Arts (ACPA). Supported by world class trainers, Aria completed her certificate IV in performing arts and is currently studying for her diploma.

Koby Walsh

Bundjalung boy Koby is no stranger to the spotlight and loves nothing more than dancing, singing and performing. From ballet, jazz and contemporary to musical theatre Koby is a talented dancer who has a big future ahead of him. He plans to put his scholarship funds towards paying for his dance classes and expanding his repertoire to tap dancing.

Charlotte Hobbs

Proud Kuku Yalanji, and Ugar/Waibin artist Charlotte has her sights set on turning her hobby for creating art into a career. Growing up far from her mob Charlotte is excited to use her artistic talents to find connection to her culture and to share her experiences with her cultural identity through art. She plans to put her funds to good use by purchasing new art supplies and equipment.

Taylor-Lee Scollay

Proud Kungadidji woman Taylor is an artist, surfer and skateboarder who is passionate about connecting with her culture and learning all about Indigenous art. Her piece created for 2023 South East Region Department of Education NAIDOC art competition this year was one of six in Queensland to receive a special commendation. She plans to use her scholarship funds to purchase arts equipment and supplies.

Academic Category Winners

Ayva Yoeub

Proud Dharug girl Ayva is the 2016 International Junior Miss becoming the first First Nations person to win an international pageant title. Despite battling serious health conditions, she remained dedicated and committed to her school work and sees a future in medicine, whether that is surgery, nursing or paramedicine. She plans to use her funds toward a new laptop to help her complete her studies.

Dakota Hackling

Wiradjuri woman Dakota works two jobs to maintain the feed and upkeep of her biggest passion, her horse. Beyond the two jobs she works she also volunteers at the Lazy Diamond Horse Riding School mucking out stables, feed the horses, clean, tack ad rug/unrug the horses. With her dedication to equestrianism and animals in general she is hoping to become a vet nurse when she finishes school. She plans to put her scholarship funds towards a vet nurse course with Greencross Veterinary Noosa.

Julius Broome

Proud Gooreng Gooreng man Julius is passionate about two things, rugby league and his education. In year 7 at Iona College Julius is committed to his school rugby league team but knows that his education comes first. He plans to use his scholarship funds to pay for his school fees so he can keep scoring tries for the team.

Jyannha Cobbo-Costello

Proud Wakka Wakka and Booubyan woman Jyannha is shooting for the stars with her sights set on a career in astronomy. She loves her STEM classes at school and volunteers at her school to help encourage other kids to get involved in STEM also. She plans to put her scholarship funds toward a school trip to NASA headquarters in the USA.

Laquisha Nona

As the oldest of seven children, proud Torres Strait Islander woman Laquisha is no stranger to stepping up and taking care of those around her. She plans to channel this caring nature into a career in nursing when she finishes school and she plans to use her Young, Black and Proud scholarship funds to help her get there. She is currently completing a nursing course through the Deadly Choices program at her school and will put her money towards associated costs with the course.

Lindsay Close

Proud Mununjali man Lindsay is passionate and dedicated to his education and has his sights set on a career in barbering. This scholarship has given him the financial boost he needs to upskill and break into the industry.

Shiloh Short

Proud Gunggari and Mandandanji man Shiloh is not only passionate about health and fitness he’s also the youngest person at the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre to complete a certificate four in Indigenous Leadership while also attending school full time. He has his sights set on a career as a personal trainer, supporting others to change their lives while improving their physical and mental health. He plans to use his scholarship funds to complete his certificate four in fitness which will give him the qualification he needs to become a personal trainer.

Talisha Mason

Proud Jirrbal woman Talisha is so passionate about the health and wellbeing of her community that she’s not settling for just a qualification in nursing, she is currently studying her second degree in medicine. Beyond the standard workload for a second-year medical student Talisha also spends her free time tutoring undergraduate Indigenous nursing students and speaking at national conferences. Her scholarship funds are going towards her education and we can’t wait to welcome her into the field of community-controlled health when she graduates.

Tya-Yani Weatherall

Proud Gamilaroi, Garawa and Butchulla woman Tya-Yani is passionate about her community, culture and social justice and aims to channel that passion into a career in politics, enacting positive change for her community from the top. She’s currently studying Law and Human Rights at the Australian Catholic University to help her better understand how the legal system in Australia operates and help her better serve her community in the future. She plans to put her scholarship funds towards her university textbooks and other necessary items.

Zackary Hobbs

Kuku Yalanji and Ugar/Waibin boy Zackary is proud of his culture and believes that learning new things can help him connect with his heritage. He dreams of becoming a coder when he’s older and loved using technology to solve problems and make people’s lives easier. He sees his future creating apps, building websites and programming robots to make the world a better place. He plans to use his funds to purchase a laptop so that he can practice coding whenever he wants and explore new programming languages.

Sports Category Winners

Aliti Nona

Young Torres Strait Islander girl Aliti is looking for a chance to stretch her legs and score a few tries. She currently plays touch football but what she really wants to play is rugby league. Unfortunately this isn’t a sport her school offers and the only opportunity for her to improve her rugby skills is to join the local club team. Thanks to her Young, Black and Proud scholarship Aliti was able to pay her club fees, purchase the necessary uniforms and buy some rugby shoes.

Amali Gibson

Proud Noonar, Gooreng Gooreng, Gubbi Gubbi and Torres Strait Islander woman Amali has her sights set on a career as a professional tennis player. Not only does she have some impressive skills on the court, she’s also an inspirational leader of court as well. She is currently Indigenous captain, sport captain and an executive of the student council at her high school.

Billy Thomas

12 year old Quandamooka boy Billy has been playing rugby league since he was five years old and is dedicated and committed to improving his game and being a valuable player on every team he makes. This year he made it onto his school’s Division A team for rugby union and represented Lytton in Metropolitan East Rugby Union in July of this year.

Dewron Aitken

Proud Horn Island man Dewron might not have a lot of experience playing rugby league but what he lacks in experience he more than makes up for in talent. After competing for the first time last year he was invited to the Cowboys Greenhorn Academy clinics and plans to use his scholarship funds to cover the cost of travel and accommodation to participate.

Emelia Ryan

Proud Wiradjuri woman Emelia is a passionate rugby league player and is committed to helping her team the Caboolture Snakes secure a win. She plans to spend her scholarship funds on new uniforms, a new mouthguard for her games and a gym membership to stay fit and healthy for her games.

Frederick Appo

Wakka Wakka man Freddy is passionate about making a difference for his family and his community. He aims to be a role model for other Indigenous kids in his community and show younger kids the importance of education and the opportunities that can come from being committed and dedicated to sport. He plans to use his scholarship funds to attend the rugby league Queensland state titles and represent his family and people.

Hank Veivers

Kamilaroi basketball star Hank is used to aiming high after being selected at just 15 years of age to play in the under 17s and under 20s teams in the World Amateur Athletic Union Championship. He caught the eye of former Olympian and Brisbane Bullets coach Brian Kerle and is well on his way to a career in professional basketball. He plans to use his scholarship funds on one-on-one session with Brian Kerle to further his skills and towards the Patty Mills Collaboration.

Holyee-Ann Jackson

Proud Yuggera woman Holyee-Ann has got her sights set on a gold medal in BMX at the Brisbane 2032 Olympics. She is currently ranked 9th in the world for her age division shows no signs of slowing down. Recently she competed in Glasgow, Scotland in the 2023 BMX World Titles and plans to use her scholarship funds to pay for her flights and accommodation for upcoming competitions

Kailee Bloomfield

Gubbi Gubbi and Durumbal girl Kailee has been selected to represent the under 13s Budgies Australian Indigenous schoolgirls netball team at the International Netball Festival in Fiji. She has big netball dreams which include playing for the Australian Diamonds at the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games. This competition in Fiji will be a stepping stone to making her dream a reality. Kailee plans to use her funds to pay for her trip to Fiji to compete.

Kane Munt

Proud Torres Strait Islander man Kane is still riding high after representing Australia in the World Distance championships as part of the Australian Under 16s outrigging team. He trains hard, waking up early and taking care of his health to make sure he’s always competition ready.

Kesarnee Matthew

Bidjara, Garingbal and Boigu Island girl Kesarnee is proud to represent her culture through her sporting achievements. She has also been chosen to represent the Australiann Indigenous schoolgirls netball team at the International Netball Festival in Fiji. She plans to use her funds to pay for the trip.

Kulan May

Proud Wiradjuri and Birri man, Kulan is a year 10 student at Rivermount College, on an Indigenous Scholarship. He’s a multi-talented academic achiever who excels in academics, plays multiple musical instruments, and represents his school in many areas, including sports like volleyball and basketball.

Lily Haines

Lily, a 14-year-old Bundjalung girl, discovered her love for netball at the age of 8. With solid dedication, she trains six days a week and has ventured into netball umpiring. Selected for the U15s Australian Indigenous team, Lily will be heading to Fiji in December for the International Netball Festival, with scholarship funds supporting her journey to Fiji.

Malakye Blow

Proud Butchulla, Munujali and Gangulu man Malakye is passionate about rugby league and working with community as a Liaison Officer in the primary health industry. He currently attends Caloundra State High School as well as studying a certificate 3 in Allied Health. He has been selected to represent his school’s rugby league team in their upcoming competition in Fiji and plans to use his scholarship funds to pay his way.

Moondara Mason

You might have seen proud Yuwaalaraay and Bigambul woman Moondara dominating the field in last month’s Queensland Murri Carnival. A passionate and dedicated rugby league player Moondara is an inspiration for her team mates and a fantastic captain and leader. She put her scholarship funds towards some new footy boots to help her secure the win for her team at the Queensland Murri Carnival.

Mya Fulwood

Mya Fulwood, a 20-year-old Torres Strait Islander woman with roots in Boigu Island, is a third-year university student pursuing a Bachelor of Behavioural Science and Business at QUT. While juggling her studies, Mya manages to jobs to support herself. She’s an avid traveler and has applied for an exchange program at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, in 2024.

Mya Moke

Mya Moke is a proud 14-year-old Torres Strait Islander girl with strong connections to St Pauls, Moa Island and Mer Island. She’s been playing basketball and netball since age 10, playing at grassroots, club and representative levels. She recently represented QLD South in the U16 girls’ state basketball team at the Australian Junior National Championships in Perth.

Myles Strathern

Myles Strathearn, Gubbi Gubbi and Darumbal man, is a dedicated Year 12 student and passionate sports enthusiast. He has been involved in surf lifesaving, men’s netball, and rugby league, actively supporting younger players, volunteering, and fundraising for his club. Representing his mob in the first ever First Nations U17s boys’ netball team remains one his sporting highlights.

Nahla Moke

Nahla is a triple threat athlete at just 11 years old, and a proud Torres Strait Islander with deep connections to St Pauls, Moa Island, and Mer Island. She’s currently on a sporting scholarship at John Paul College, where she’s excelling in basketball, netball, and AFL, earning her a spot in the Met Easts teams for all three sports this year.

Orielle Michaelis-Thorpe

Orielle is young Bidjara and Dhungutti girl. At just 14 years old, she discovered her love for indoor climbing. Over the past two years, she has competed in numerous boulder and lead climbing competitions, proving her incredible talent and determination.

Patrick North

Patrick is a proud Bidjara boy with an unshakable passion for basketball. When he’s not on the court, he is refereeing the game. As the oldest of six kids and he serves as an inspiration to his younger siblings as he continues to persevere and work hard to achieve his dreams. .

Quincy Khan

Quincy is a dedicated young talent with a strong connection to Bundjalung Country. Currently a Year 10 student at Palm Beach Currumbin State High School, Quincy’s journey in tennis started at age 5, and his love for the sport has only grown since then. Quincy has actively competed in Tennis Australia tournaments, playing in both Juniors and Opens categories.

Shaynae McAlpine

Shaynaye is a proud Wakka Wakka girl. At age 15, she is determined to chase her dreams. Her passion is netball, where she not only excels but also proudly represents her culture. She was selected to join the Australian Indigenous U15s netball team, an incredible opportunity to represent her culture and country in Fiji this December.

Stanpele Warusam

Stanpele is a proud 14-year-old Torres Strait Islander from Saibai Island, who loves his culture and traditional Island dancing. He’s also a passionate rugby league player who aspires to make it big in the NRL and proudly represent his Island and community. Despite the challenges of attending school on Thursday Island, which limits his access to the sport and regular play due to travel, he remains determined.

Taliah Anderson

Taliah is a 15-year-old proud Dunghutti and Anaiwan girl. Taliah is an all-around talent, actively participating in community and school sports, including rugby league, rugby 7s, and touch football teams. Her hard work and dedication shine through in her schoolwork, training, and sporting activities.

Tyrell Hopkins

Tyrell, is a 18-year-old, proud Butchulla, Mununjali, and Gangulu man. He has a love for surfing and rugby league. Tyrell is a hardworking young man with a part-time job and a school-based traineeship. His talent on the rugby league field has secured his positions in both the U18’s Mal Meninga Cup and secured a spot on the U18’s QLD Murri side.

We held an official presentation for scholarship recipients at the State Library of Queensland. Special guests included ATSICHS Brisbane CEO Renee Blackman, QFCC Commissioner Natalie Lewis, QFCC Principal Commissioner Luke Twyford and also Deadly Choices Ambassador Willie Tonga. The MC was Indigenous artist and performer Uraine Roelofs.

Congrats to these deadly young mob for their drive and determination to follow their dreams for the future.

Check out all the photos below!

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