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Tuesday, 5 September 2023
Page: 86

Mr O'CONNOR (GortonMinister for Skills and Training) (16:34): I rise to congratulate the talented and hardworking recipients of this year's Gorton Young Leaders Awards. Since 2009 I've been acknowledging selected year 12 students from the electorate of Gorton who have demonstrated a commitment to active public leadership within their schools and communities through these annual awards. These awards are an important way to recognise and encourage local young people beyond academic performance and to reward their efforts in giving to their communities. I am consistently impressed with the remarkable achievement of the prize winners and the fantastic local talent who call Melbourne's west their home.

This year we have 18 Gorton Young Leaders award winners across nine local schools in the electorate of Gorton. All of these students have made significant contributions to their schools and local communities. Many are school captains and vice-captains. Some have done specific work running sports and other events, working with disadvantaged communities, helping the elderly and helping with fundraising events. We'll be watching their development with keen interest, and there is a great likelihood that these young leaders will become leaders of the future.

From the Australian International Academy in Caroline Springs, we have Fowzia Osman and Emnah El Howli. From Lakeview Senior College, we have Neerja Singh and Ryan Martinovic. From Taylors Lake Secondary College, we have Ava Josifovska and Caitlyn Derks. From Overnewton Anglican Community College, we have Ella Cleaver and Gabrielle Edwards. From Keilor Downs College, we have Kayla Parker and Ongegu Ndubi. From the Catholic Regional College Sydenham, we have Olivia Alvarado and Oscar Hodgetts, both of whom I had the pleasure of meeting and presenting with their awards only a few weeks ago. From Southern Cross Grammar, we have Bethany Ferraro and Thomas Stoitsis. From Springside West Secondary College, we have Aleyna Aydinli and Massimo Tahche. Finally, from Gilson College, we have Theshana Kariyawasam and Maja Fisher. They are great young achievers who are worthy beneficiaries of these awards, and I pay tribute to them, their schools and their families for ensuring and instilling in them that it's more than just academic achievement; it's also about how you engage with our communities and how you help those who are less fortunate than you. I pay tribute to their efforts.