Thriving Together at the 8th MY Education Awards

On 9th September, the first in-person MY Education Awards ceremony since the pandemic, saw Out-of-School-Hours Learning Support Program (OSHLSP) coordinators, volunteers, and young people across Victoria come together at ACMI, to celebrate their exceptional achievements and contributions.

Father-daughter duo, Geoffrey and Milla Williams kickstarted the event with their beautiful performance. Milla, Year 11 singer/ songwriter at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) and valued member of CMY’s Youth Advisory Group in Ballarat, blew us away with her captivating vocals, while her father played the guitar.

Geoffrey and Milla Williams

Sneha Challa, former CMY Youth Facilitator and current Young Peer Worker at YACVic was the MC of the heartwarming event, and welcomed attendees to the 8th annual awards.

Carmel Guerra OAM, CMY CEO, addressed the crowd and shared how a small group of CMY staff members came up with the idea for the awards, to celebrate the important work being done in the learning support sector. She went on to thank the Department of Education and Training for their ongoing support, and acknowledged the difficult job of the judging panel – made up of representatives from the Department along with Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools and Independent Schools Victoria – who carefully considered more than 50 high-quality nominations this year.

Tim Richardson MP

Special guest, Tim Richardson MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Schools, Mental Health and Social Inclusion, and State Member for Mordialloc, gave his speech and stated that the awards were one of his favourite events of the year. He said that he was especially touched to see how many students were taking on leadership roles in their communities.

“You’ve (OSHLSPs) displayed a sense of patience, support of staff, fostering of belonging, thanks for all the work you’ve done. These awards are a real showcase of the very best of our community,” Mr Richardson said.

We also heard from keynote speaker Sobur Dhieu, CMY Shout Out speaker and previous Policy Intern, who shared her personal story of growing up in Australia and how her parents had inspired her lifelong love of learning.

“Education meant power and possibilities. Interest, generosity, and support shown to me by my family, teachers, and community have helped me achieve the highest quality education,” Sobur said.

“Schools can do more… they should start by helping students to understand their strengths. We need to be creating safe spaces to empower students to learn.”

“This event invites us to reflect on the power of education, and the spirit of harmony and unity at its very heart.”

Year 12 student, Abdi Sharif shared his learning experience at Aiming High VCE Support Program and thanked his mentors who helped him overcome negative thoughts when he was down.

The awards were then presented to the well-deserving winners, who have made outstanding contributions to the learning support sector.

A big congratulations to all nominees and this year’s winners:

Outstanding Volunteer – Metropolitan
Tara Lesnjack, Debney Meadows Learning Support Program

Outstanding Volunteer – Regional/Rural
Timothy Bevan Walton, Diversity Homework Club

Outstanding Secondary Student
Abdi Sharif, Aiming High VCE Support Program

Outstanding Primary Student
Kathjajini Neelavannan, Diversity Homework Club

OSHLSP of the Year – Metropolitan
Debney Meadows Learning Support Program, Edmund Rice Community & Refugee Services

OSHLSP of the Year – Regional/Rural
WSSC Study Club, Wodonga Senior Secondary College

Find out more about Learning Beyond the Bell that offers support for OSHLSPs. For support for schools, click here.