2021 Warrnambool and Moyne Youth Award winners

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Young business owners, volunteers, health advocates, athletes and emerging leaders were recognised at the 2021 Warrnambool and Moyne Youth Awards on Wednesday August 11.

Warrnambool award winners were Andrew Pritchard (19-25 age group), Le Lou Berger (16-18 age group) and Sophie Grist (12-15 age group). The Moyne winners were Bonnie Williamson (19-25), Hana Price (16-18) and Bailey MacDonald (12-15).

Runners-up included Jordan Gould, Anastasia Rea, Paige Kermeen, Tahlia Searle, Charlotte Sutcliffe, Taine DeManser and James Redmond. 

The event was originally scheduled to be held in-person on July 25, however the recent lockdown and subsequent COVID-19 restrictions saw the awards ceremony shift to an online format.

“Just like the award nominees have been flexible and resilient while still managing to achieve great things over the past year, the 2021 Warrnambool and Moyne Youth Awards have adapted to celebrate our region’s young people, everything they have achieved and everything they have overcome,” Warrnambool Mayor Cr Vicki Jellie said.

“While some might be shy about their achievements, they really have an impact, and it’s important to celebrate them.

“You could look at the achievements of any one nominee and draw a great deal of inspiration from them. 

“What we have with the 2021 Warrnambool and Moyne Youth Awards is 62 outstanding young people, all leaving their mark in their own way, and collectively helping to create a better region for everyone.

“COVID-19 has been incredibly disruptive for the lives of our region’s young people, many of whom haven’t been able to do the things that they want to do, but they haven’t let that stop them from staying positive and still finding ways to make a difference in the lives of those around them.”

Moyne Shire Mayor Cr Daniel Meade said that he was impressed by the number of inspiring young people living in the region and commended them for what they have achieved.
“These Youth Awards are a great way to celebrate and acknowledge each nominee for the difference they make to our lives, whether that be through their achievements, talents or their positive involvement in the local community,” Cr Meade said.

“Despite not being able to hold a physical presentation, it was great to be able to reward these well-deserving young leaders who have demonstrated outstanding values and a commitment to making a positive impact on the community.”

The awards were proudly presented by the Warrnambool City and Moyne Shire councils with support from the Gwen and Edna Jones Foundation, Deakin University, the Rotary Club of Warrnambool, Fitz Media and FReeZA.

About the winners

Andrew Pritchard – Warrnambool 19-25 category

Andrew won the Academic category in the 2016 Warrnambool and Moyne Youth Awards, and was the overall runner up. In 2021 Andrew was named the Warrnambool Young Citizen of the Year as part of the Australia Day Awards.

Andrew served on the Warrnambool Youth Council (2016- 2020). Highlights during his time on Council include: The W2040 Small Actions – Big Difference Event with the aim of inspiring others to consider their impact on the environment and lifestyle changes towards positive change; Assisted in the development of the Warrnambool Junior Youth Council, which is made up of primary school students and The Mental Health Awareness Project. Andrew was also a member of the Moyne Youth Parliament and participated in developing a bill highlighting road improvements needed within the shire. In 2020, Andrew served on both committees remotely from Warrnambool during lockdown, while completing his studies at University. Andrew was a college leader at Emmanuel College Yr 10-12 and is currently secretary of the general committee at St Mary’s College.

Andrew grew up with his mum having a severe lung disease requiring a lung transplant in 2015. Resulting in social isolation, financial issues and caring responsibilities. Andrew succeeded with limited parental and financial support achieving outstanding academic results: 90 +ATAR, academic excellence awards alongside leadership and community work.

Andrew undertook a rigorous interview process to obtain a scholarship with the Japan Society of Victoria self- funding his school trip to Japan in Yr10. Andrew was a popular leader at school showing respect to his peers regardless of gender, race or sexuality. He is a strong advocate for mental health awareness.

Andrew has passionately served his community in mental health and environmental issues through his wide involvement in community and leadership roles. In secondary school he was a college leader, on the debate team, college representative at ANZAC and remembrance days and participated in the inaugural Future Leaders Program.

Bonnie Williamson – Moyne 19-25 category

Few 19-year-olds have the confidence to take on the responsibility of running a new business – Bonnie has two businesses.

Bonnie worked hard through Secondary School in 2019 and was accepted into a Para-Medicine course on the Sunshine Coast. She decided to defer this and follow her dreams of running her own personal training business – Euphoria Fitness. Not only has she achieved this, but she has now purchased PhysiPole Studios - Warrnambool. She strives to improve her businesses and works hard every day.

She also saved for a trip overseas to compete in a body building contest and won the Miss Southern Universe Title 2020.

Bonnie listens to her clients and student's feedback and she then proactively responds in an honest and transparent manner. She willingly discusses all possible outcomes and makes a decision that is best for everyone. She also is working hard on fundraising ideas to improve the studio as it has outgrown the current location.

Le Lou Berger – Warrnambool 16-18 category

Le Lou is an inspiring and unique individual who is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. She is a good friend who will go the extra mile to make sure people feel safe and included. She is brave and not afraid to attract attention by standing up for others or for herself. Le Lou has dyslexia and has always struggled academically at school. She has not let this stop her from setting her own goals and working toward them.

She is currently working towards her Senior VCAL Certificate and last year was named VCAL Student of the Year at Emmanuel College.

In 2020 Covid disrupted her dream VCAL work placement at Killarney Kennels. Even though remote learning was a struggle she kept trying and applied for South West Emerging Leaders where she was mentored by the Middle Island Maremma Dog coordinator. This year when her weekly work placement with the Council Rangers fell through, she instead gave up her Easter holidays to volunteer with them instead.

This year she also worked with two of her fellow students to run an E Sport competition.

Her passion is a bright light that drives her to new adventures.

Hana Price – Moyne 16-18 category

Hana is passionate about social justice and actually trying to make an active difference in her community. She has volunteered at the Uniting Church Op Shop since 2017, giving up her Saturdays to help out in the store. She has volunteered at the Warrnambool Toy Library Messy Play Day as well as for the Warrnambool Lions Club Conventions. She has been a member of the Brauer College School Council for two years and has worked on numerous committees at school; including the Reconciliation Action Team.

Hana is a wonderful student who has been named DUX of her year level for the past 4 years. This year alone, Hana has been Senior School Captain 2021, Lions Youth of the Year Participant 2021 and was a part of the Plain English Speaking Award 2021. In 2020, Hana was named a Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholar by Melbourne University. Hana was also awarded the John King citizenship award in 2020, has been Swimming champion 2017, 2019, 2020, 2021 and Athletics champion 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.

Hana recognises the need that actions reflect intentions and this fuels her to continue to seek out opportunities for her to give something back to the community. Hana works in groups that vary in age and community focus. She crosses social boundaries as easily as anyone and continues to be a model for all that a student can achieve through hard work, sacrifice and a healthy social conscious.

Sophie Grist – Warrnambool 12-15 category

Sophie's passion for sport aerobics is evident in her work ethic, and her love for the sport has allowed her to set big goals and achieve drastic improvements in her sporting ability over the past 18 months. In 2020, Sophie did not have teammates to train with and competed as a soloist, demonstrating that her purpose to train comes from within herself and her desire to improve. She takes every opportunity to compete and perform, even if this means travelling long distances to competitions that not many of her club mates are competing at.

In 2020, Sophie was selected as Sports Captain at her school. She had the responsibility of being a role model to younger students and helping them out during sports days and related activities. Sophie also demonstrated responsibility for maintaining her individual aerobics training, attending every optional and compulsory online/in-person training and entering as many competitions as possible, which in 2020 required online submission. To do this Sophie took the initiative to film her routines in her living room for each competition. This responsibility resulted in Sophie winning 3 individual gold medals for her first Australia-wide School Aerobics competition.

Sophie was awarded a PE award, Brauer sports scholarship, and a School Sports Victoria academic and sporting achievement medal at her final primary school assembly, acknowledging both her sporting and academic perseverance. Through hard work, Sophie also won a total of 6 first and 2 second placings for aerobics in 2020.

Bailey MacDonald – Moyne 12-15 category

In 2019, at 12, Bailey started a fundraising business: ‘Bailey’s Scrunchies for a Cause’, responding to her father’s recovery from cancer and wanting to show kindness to those who had helped her Dad and others going through a similar experience. She worked selflessly, raising in excess of $8,260 for the South West Regional Cancer Centre.

Bailey was passionate in her fundraising initiatives and lasted the long haul, rising early for sewing, pushing through Covid19 lockdowns and making social sacrifices.

Bailey is a kind and compassionate person who is readily able to empathise with others and responsibly put into action her innovative ways of fundraising for those fighting cancer, having her Dad’s battle fresh in her memory. Bailey isn’t looking for the spotlight but rather is humble and responsible, acting from the heart whether it be helping those around her in the classroom or fundraising for cancer sufferers.