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House celebrates 17 graduates

A year of challenge has ended in triumph for 17 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students graduating at the annual NRL Cowboys House awards night.

After overcoming a disrupted academic year through COVID-19 restrictions, the graduates were introduced on Monday night to a reduced gathering of students, staff, parents and award presenters and a dedicated contingent of families, partners and supporters joining by live stream.

The 2020 Seniors of NRL Cowboys House is the largest group of graduates to come through the unique boarding facility since it opened its doors to 50 students in early 2017.

Each graduate has worked closely with the House career transitions team – supported by Waanyi Downer – to have chosen their next steps in further education, training or employment.

Congratulations to our 2020 graduates: Nahlani Ah Kit, Colin Aruba, Alkere Forester, Clay George, Jarvis George, Trevor Henry, Valentine Kahn, Jeremy Logan, Darby Miller-Diamond, Simeon Namok, Babetha Neliman-Nona, Ataya Pearson, Mara-Leah Sewter, Eli Taylor, Gary Tom, Aaron Warria, Nathan Widgell

The evening also celebrated the achievements of 2020 for the entire 104-strong cohort of secondary students representing 23 remote communities and attending nine partner schools in Townsville.

General Manager Rochelle Jones paid tribute to the effort and commitment shown across the House this year.

“2020 has been a year in which our NRL Cowboys House values – Family, Resilience and Integrity – have been put into action,” Ms Jones said.

“Despite the challenges, we have achieved great things by everyone working together with trust, care and respect to successfully complete our first year in full operation.

“NRL Cowboys House is extremely proud to be able to provide a wide range of support for our young people and we’d like to thank all of those involved in making this possible.”

Cowboys CEO Jeff Reibel recognised the strong leadership and partner support that guided NRL Cowboys House through unchartered waters.

“The initiative, innovation and commitment shown by our House management team and staff to creating education continuity for our students reinforced NRL Cowboys House’s status as a leader in Indigenous boarding in this country,” Mr Reibel said.

“Their tireless work in creating a home away from home, keeping strong cultural connections and creating life-changing opportunities drives our House and is a huge reason we’re celebrating 17 graduates tonight.

“The amazing contribution from our partners, donors and supporters ensures we can continue to offer our students the future of their dreams and inspire others to follow in their footsteps, and we thank you for your continued support during a year like no other.”

The House family also recognised indomitable Education Manager Mary McInnes, who retires after a 50-year career in education – thank you, Miss Mary!

2020 Award winners

Chunbahmah Music/Dance Award: Colin Aruba, Brettaequa Leo, Rose Baira

Academic Encouragement Award: Savanah De Bosch, Connor Rogers, Hezekiah Nona, Keelin Hookey, Lhere Forester

Best at Study Award: Frederick Mick, Leland Michael, Tarnie Rose Newie, Kunjarra Yeatman-Noble

Junior Academic Award: George Abednego, Makeilla Gibson, Rahu Mara

Senior Academic Award: Trevor Henry, Nathan Widgell, Ataya Pearson, Alkere Forester

Most Outstanding Sportsperson Award: Clay George, Cooper Pearson, Nahlani Ah Kit, Babetha Neliman-Nona

Leadership Award – presented by AMA Group: Gary Tom, Josh Daniel, Tekelu Mene, Ataya Pearson, Sanetta Nona, Elianah Tabuai

2021 Boarding Captains: Daynie Seriat, Frank Backo

Community Service Award: Joshua Daniels, Steven Tom, Gershom Kelly, Sanetta Nona

Gold Award for Boarding – Boys Campus: Nathan Widgell, Eli Taylor, Colin Aruba, Leland Michael, Shawndel De Bosch, Haley Pearson, Tekelu Mene, Hezekiah Nona, Lhere Forester, Keelin Hookey, Brody Ah Kit, George Abednego, Josh Daniel, Frank Backo

Gold Award for Boarding – Girls Campus: Babetha Neliman-Nona, Nykia Casey, Rose Baira, Sanetta Nona, Shakia Sambo, Briseis Tamwoy, Savanah De Bosch, Destiny Escott, Aaliyah Gibson, Kunjarra Yeatman-Noble, Tarnie Rose Newie, Aleeah Michael, Brettaequa Leo, Carleesha Tayley, Elianah Tabuai, Narzaliah Doolah, Larnie Mara, Rahu Mara, Connor Rogers

Most Outstanding Boarders: Gary Tom, Manu Nona, Daynie Seriat

Resilience Award: Eli Taylor, Carleesha Tayley

Training Awards – Apprentices & Trainees: Eli Taylor, Jeremy Logan, Babetha Neliman-Nona, Ataya Pearson

Year 12 Graduates: Nahlani Ah Kit, Colin Aruba, Alkere Forester, Clay George, Jarvis George, Trevor Henry, Valentine Kahn, Jeremy Logan, Darby Miller-Diamond, Simeon Namok, Babetha Neliman-Nona, Ataya Pearson, Mara-Leah Sewter, Eli Taylor, Gary Tom, Aaron Warria, Nathan Widgell

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