Local youth shine on awards night

The achievements, talents and dedication of young people in the Alpine Shire were celebrated last Friday night at the annual Alpine Shire Youth Awards. 

04 September 2023

A record number of young people aged 12 to 21 from across the Shire were nominated for the nine award categories this year, with 56 nominations submitted. 

Held at the Mount Beauty Community Centre, 130 people attended the awards night, which was organised by the Youth Awards Committee and hosted by Mount Beauty Secondary College students Baylin, Zoe and Natalie. 

Alpine Shire Mayor, John Forsyth, said he was thrilled to celebrate the outstanding efforts and talents of our local young achievers. 

"They all have blown us away with their hard work, dedication, and brilliance - the quality of nominations truly impressed us, making it quite a challenge to select the winners," he said. 

"What makes our Shire really special is the abundance of young people who excel in various fields – be it sports, arts, academics, community work, or the workplace." 

Cr Forsyth said the awards encompass a diverse range of categories, acknowledging the remarkable abilities of our youth and the areas they excel in - academics, proud and deadly, community, endurance and persistence, sport and recreation, performing arts, visual arts and media, and in the workplace. 

"I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to our local businesses and organisations for sponsoring these awards," he said. 

"Their support truly makes a difference and it’s heart-warming to see our community rallying behind our young community members year after year. 

"Let's also not forget those who took the time to nominate these incredible young individuals; teachers, parents, employers, friends, and family – their recognition and efforts are appreciated." 

Attendees also enjoyed the musical talents of Eliza Murrells and Josh Lindsay, as well as an inspiring speech by guest speaker, James Eggleston. 

The winners are listed below. 

Caitlin Shute - Winner Academic Award  

Caitlin has been nominated for her academic achievements across all subject areas. She is a hard working young woman who has demonstrated a diligent and meticulous approach to her VCE studies and has achieved excellent results across all subject areas throughout her academic life at Marian College. 

As part of her VCE, Caitlin has studied Visual Communication and Design (VCD) and Media through Virtual School Victoria which has required an extraordinary amount of self-discipline, organisation and commitment. As a Year 11 student last year, Caitlin completed the Year 12 sequence of VCD and was awarded a perfect score for her Design Folio. As a result of this, she was nominated for the state's 'Top Designs' showcase. 


Zoe Gray – Winner Community Award  

Zoe is a super volunteer, she has volunteered in many different capacities and events, including the Mount Beauty Swim Club, Sportsfest, Kangaroo Hoppet, the Alpine Shire Colour Fun Run and at multiple mountain biking events. 

Zoe organised and ran a community tree planting event with Landcare, successfully planting over 400 trees at Pebble Beach, aiming to help develop natural areas and bring the community together. 

She is a member of RAYS – the Resilience Alpine Youth Squad, a group aimed to help build resilience with the Alpine Shires youth. She is always engaging with others, and encouraging them to be active and engaged with her local community. 


Phoebe Roffey – Winner Endurance and Persistence Award 

Phoebe lives with Autism and sensory processing disorder. Despite many medical and personal challenges, Phoebe successfully completed VCE in 2021, a Traineeship with Alpine Health in 2022 and has gone on to work and further studies with Alpine Health in 2023. 

In addition to work and studies, Phoebe has pursued her dream of basketball refereeing. She attended the Basketball Victoria State Championships at Bendigo and was awarded a Grand Final. A recognition she is extremely proud of, having had to push through pain, listening to the advice of the Referee Educators and self-reflection to improve her level of officiating during the tournament, which ultimately proved successful. 

She continues to referee basketball on weekends and has reached a higher level of officiating, successfully making it onto the Big V Referee panel. 


Jacarra Drew – Winner Performing Arts Award  

Jacarra is an extremely talented dancer who continually strives for creative excellence in everything she does. She has been dancing since she was 18 months old and is currently dancing at MT Dance Creative, Lavington, focusing on contemporary dance, which utilises the training completed in ballet when younger. 

In addition to the classes she takes outside of school, she is also completing VCE through Virtual School, using Mount Beauty Secondary College as her base school to complete her practical tasks. 

Jacarra is actively involved in live performances, locally, nationally, and internationally. She continues to create individual dance works with dances completed last year as part of her studies gaining an excellence award for that unit of work. 


Teagan Brown – Winner Rural Award  

Teagan is currently combining her Agriculture traineeship with her Year 10 studies - accelerating into the traineeship this year. This involves Teagan either being at TAFE or involved in work placement at least one day per week throughout the year despite finding school-based, academic pursuits challenging, 

Teagan's enthusiasm for all things agricultural and willingness to work hard, has meant that she is excelling in her ag studies. 

Teagan has previously been involved in the local agricultural show and following completion of the Angus Youth Roundup last year, she is keen to be involved in showing cattle. Teagan aspires to work towards becoming a stock agent in her working career - continuing her connection to local agricultural production. She is also hoping to expand her experience by heading north to work on a station. 

Teagan’s typical working day includes vaccinating, back lining, marking, drafting and yarding cattle at various properties, assisting with cattle pregnancy testing. 


Genavieve Cusack - Winner Sport and Recreation Award  

Genavieve demonstrates the highest level of dedication and commitment to, not only her own sporting success but also the success of others. 

She is an active and enthusiastic participant in local basketball competitions as player, coach, and referee. She has refereed over 100 games in the past 4 years, and has and has also started her own business – Three Point Coaching – a program for young people aged 6 – 14 years to develop and enhance their basketball skills. 

Genavieve has an “endless love for basketball” and far from merely participating for her own enjoyment, works to share her passion and energy with others, and to help them improve their own game and self-discipline, even starting her own business to this end. 


Lachlan Stripeikis - Winner Workplace Award 

Lachlan demonstrates a positive attitude and commitment to his work, he is reliable and demonstrates a strong work ethic. During his traineeship Lachy’s confidence and customer service skills grew and he was able to work unsupervised, assisting customers, taking phone calls and developing positive working relationships. 

Lachy often goes above and beyond assisting the facilities team as they worked to reopen outdoor pools for the summer season, gaining additional knowledge in pool for the summer season. 

Following his traineeship, he was encouraged to complete pool lifeguard course and continued to work over summer as a lifeguard. 


Fox Williams - Winner Visual Arts and Media Award 

Fox is an extremely talented artist who demonstrates a genuine passion for the arts and media, is confident about pursuing a career in film making and is currently completing Year 12 at Bright P-12 College. 

They have consistently demonstrated a high level of maturity and their work is unique, sensitive and at times autobiographical. Fox is interested in current social issues, specifically relevant to them as a member of the Queer community and as a young transgender person. They are willing to explore social and wellbeing issues, to delve deeper and to look beyond the boundaries, and to use their art as their voice. 

At the end of last year Fox had their very own solo art show that consisted of 5 original works at Harrietville. Fox’s work has also been displayed at the DAX Centre in Melbourne, The Hyphen in Wodonga and Wangaratta Library as well at school exhibitions. 


Ava Brock – Winner Proud and Deadly Award 

Ava Brock is a proud and inspiring young Gunditjimara (Goonditchimara) woman who has lived in Myrtleford her whole life. Ava actively demonstrates pride in her peoples and her culture. Her pride is embedded in the foundation of her identity and this, alongside her connections to her family, is what seems to motivate her. 

She has become a leader in our community and a role model for other First Nations youth, actively encouraging them to feel their own sense of pride in being a part of the First Nations people of this country. Ava shows up for them and shows time and time again that she believes in herself, and she believes in them. 

In 2022, Ava designed and painted NGATANWARR, WATA WALOONG, WATA POORAY, an artwork for Alpine Shire Council that now proudly hangs at the Council office in Bright and decorates Council's Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan. 


Toby Derrick - Winner Alpine Shire Youth Award (12 – 16 years old)  

Toby is a talented and committed cricket player with many outstanding achievements to his name at an early age. Toby travels to Melbourne at least once a week for training and to Wodonga at least twice a week and is regularly asked to take on leadership roles in cricket, always demonstrating good sportsmanship. He always strives to commit his personal best and is dedicated to performing well at all times. 

Toby is also a passionate football player, and as a "top age" player is always happy to mentor the younger kids, showing them “tricks", partner them in training drills and on the field, helping out at training and generally looking after everyone. 


Jaz Rossato - Winner of Alpine Shire Youth Award (17 – 21 years old) 

Jaz was nominated for the Academic Award, achieving excellence across a variety of subjects and continually pushing herself and encouraging others to be the best they can be. 

Jaz never chooses the easy option, always seeking opportunities to expand her knowledge and capabilities. She is a role model for all students in her community, demonstrating that hard work and a positive attitude can lead to outstanding results in your chosen area. 


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