A YOUNG Griffith student who started her own charity at just 13-years-old has been honoured for her forward-thinking and hard work.
Murrumbidgee Regional High School student Piper Stewart has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to Aboriginal education in NSW public schools at the 2021 Nanga Mai Awards.
The 15th annual Nanga Mai awards, held virtually this recently, celebrate the achievements of Aboriginal students and the continued commitment and accomplishments of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal staff, school communities, and community members.
Piper was among 33 winners recognised across 17 categories across the arts, sport, leadership and academic excellence.
The 13-year-old received the student leadership award for founding her own charity, Bambigi, to support Aboriginal children in Griffith to learn to swim.
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Piper has raised just over $18,000 through fundraising, which has funded 94 local Aboriginal children to have at least one term of lessons.
Piper is also a dedicated student and positive role model.
Each year she has competed in the NAIDOC public speaking and debating competition, making it to the state finals four times.
Piper is also well known for her Wiradjuri language skills and is called on by a range of forums in the Griffith community to do acknowledgment to Country in language.
She is also teaching other students at her school how to do this.
Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell, said the prestigious event highlighted the outstanding qualities of public education in NSW and was a welcome celebration after a challenging 2020.
"The Nanga Mai Awards display the NSW Government's ongoing dedication to celebrating Aboriginal students, their achievements and their cultural identity," Ms Mitchell said.
"As Minister for Education, I sincerely thank everyone for their tireless work in supporting Aboriginal education in our NSW public schools and I extend my warm congratulations to all award winners."
Piper plans to keep up the hard work in the years to come.
Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships executive director Karen Jones offered her thanks to Piper for her initiative and go-getting attitude.
The Nanga Mai Awards display the NSW Government's ongoing dedication to celebrating Aboriginal students, their achievements and their cultural identity.Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, Sarah Mitchell
"The Nanga Mai awards are one of my favourite events of the year as we get to pause, reflect and celebrate excellence in Aboriginal education across NSW," she said.
"I would like to emphasise the importance of nominating your deadly students, staff, schools and community partners - the success of these awards involves our community coming together and acknowledging the outstanding work within our school communities."
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