NASCA NAIDOC YOUTH AWARDS

Male Youth of the Year – Regan Craig

Regan Craig is the very deserving winner of the NASCA NAIDOC Male Youth of the Year Award. Congratulations Regan! Regan consistently displays the qualities of a leader both within the NASCA program and in his wider school community. As a senior student, his natural leadership shines and he is a role model to other First Nations students at Airds High School. He models all of the NASCA values; Excellence, Collaboration, Trust, Integrity and Cultural Pride and Inclusion, in all that he does and strives to be someone that his younger peers look up to.Regan’s vibrant spirit draws people in and he is able to use his natural charm and warmth to positively influence his peers, teachers and NASCA staff. He is humble and treats everyone equally. Regan’s desire to make a positive difference in his community is infectious and we believe he is destined for big things!

Female Youth of the Year Award – Lily McEwen-Gillespie

Lily McEwen-Gillespie as the 2020 NASCA NAIDOC Female Youth of the Year Award winner. Lily is compassionate, an attentive listener and shows great passion for her culture, making her a strong leader within our NASCA community. Lily is self-determined and has a strong desire to exceed at school. She consistently puts up her hand to help out in NASCA sessions and is admirable in her encouragement towards younger students at Kingswood High School. The Youth of the Year Award recognises exceptional students who have adopted NASCA’s values; Excellence, Collaboration, Integrity, Trust, and Cultural Pride and Inclusion, in all that they do. Earlier this year, Lily completed an internship with NASCA where she showed just how her own values line up with ours.

Collaboration Award Winner – Mackenzie Bruce

Mackenzie Bruce is the winner of the NASCA NAIDOC Award for Collaboration in 2020! She is proud of her culture and connected to her community. This is part of what makes her such a great collaborator. Mackenzie dedicates her time to team sport, education sessions, cultural days, and other community events outside of school. Mackenzie is an outgoing person who is looked up to and respected by her peers. She strives to share her knowledge and involve those around in NASCA activities. Mackenzie has the highest standard for her work and she is always eager to learn from and teach others. Mackenzie is committed to actively making a positive impact on the Aboriginal community. Congratulations Mackenzie!

Collaboration Award Winner – Connor Sharpe

Connor from Kingswood High School is the winner of the NASCA NAIDOC Collaboration Award! Congratulations Connor! A genuine, friendly and compassionate NASCA participant since year 8, Connor is an exceptional role model to his mates. He is always one of the first students to help out at our sessions and events, and takes care in mentoring younger NASCA participants so they feel welcomed and at ease. Connor takes great pride in his connection to Aboriginal culture and we couldn’t pick a more deserving winner for the Collaboration Award. Well done Connor! 

Cultural Pride and Identity Award Winner – Yilara Widders

Congratulations to Yilara, the very deserving winner of NASCA’s Cultural Pride and Inclusion Award. Yilara is such a positive role model in her school and community.  She is passionate about driving change for First Nations young people and challenges her peers to take initiative. She takes pride in her culture, isn’t afraid to stand up for her beliefs and uses her voice to speak out on the big issues. Yilara has an infectious personality which people naturally gravitate towards. She is friendly, inclusive and has shown impressive leadership to her fellow NASCA students both at school and in her local community, just recently delivering home essential packs to young families during the COVID lockdown. Congratulations Yilara! 

Cultural Pride and Inclusion Award Winner – AJ White

AJ is the winner of the NASCA NAIDOC Award for Cultural Pride and Inclusion in 2020! AJ is always involved in performing and volunteering at NAIDOC and other cultural events. He frequently dedicates his time to help run events and he is always willing to share his knowledge. AJ plays the Yidaki/Didgeridoo and helps his Aunty with art outside of school, in the community, and at family cultural events. He loves playing TIG (Traditional Indigenous Games) and he is hungry to learn more about his culture. AJ’s energy and creativity shines through whenever he is involved in a cultural activity. AJ is a gifted and intelligent student who has expressed an interest in studying and becoming a lawyer. Even though AJ is only in Year 7, he is always being a role model in NASCA sessions, which makes the classes run smoothly and helps everyone to get the most out of it (including the NASCA staff!) Congratulations AJ!

Trust Award Winner -Tia Bates

Tia Bates is NASCA’s NAIDOC Trust winner in 2020! She has been a NASCA participant since 2019. Tia always goes above and beyond for her peers by supporting them and actively listening. Her actions show not just how dedicated she is to her NASCA peers, but also to the wider community. When NASCA sessions are running, Tia reminds her peers and always turns up on time, ready to learn and engage with content. She gives 100%, actively contributing to the group with her insightful knowledge when she participates in discussions. Tia is honest and open, others know they can rely on her. Tia cares a lot about her community. She is always contributing to make it a safe and welcoming environment where everyone is respected and valued.

Trust Award Winner -Jonathan Barber

Jonathan, or Jono, is the winner of the 2020 NASCA NAIDOC Award for Trust! Since joining NASCA in year eight, Jono has become one of Richmond High School’s strong leaders. He is a role model for all of NASCA’s Values. Jono is a positive, caring, and genuine community member. He has put his hand up many times to help and support anyone who needs it. Jono has attended many NASCA events, such as Poetry in First Language and NASCA Dreamfest! Each time Jono showcases the trust we come to see and expect from someone so committed to being a meaningful contributor to the NASCA Community!

Excellence Award Winner -Vanessa Dillon


Vanessa is the joint winner of the NASCA NAIDOC Excellence Award and has been a NASCA student since Year 8.  Vanessa is driven and consistent with her school work, but it wasn’t always this way. It was through discovering her connection with her culture, through dance, her family and their story that she became more grounded and changed her approach to school. Now, Vanessa is proud and passionate in her fight against racism and uses her social media to advocate for her community. Vanessa featured on the ABC program, “What it’s like” and is currently planning a podcast about what it’s like to be an Aboriginal young person in Australia. In January this year, Vanessa completed an internship with NASCA and we know first hand just how fierce and capable she is! We can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Congratulations Vanessa!

Excellence Award Winner – Jalil White


Jalil is a proud Gamilaraay man and one of the winners of our NASCA NAIDOC Excellence award in 2020! He has been a NASCA student since 2019 at Airds High school. Jalil is a fiercely loyal friend who has no problems standing up for the right thing. He loves a good laugh and has a natural charm that makes him an incredibly easy person to be around. Jalil enjoys spending time with friends, painting and going out on country with his family. Jalil has shown great growth in the past year, going from a reserved and shy student to a real leader in our NASCA community. We are so excited to see what happens in Jalil’s future!

Integrity Award Winner – Jack McEwen-Gillespie



Jack McEwen-Gillespie, a NASCA student since 2018 is NASCA’s NAIDOC Integrity winner in 2020!  Jack sets the example in acting with fairness, honesty and authenticity. Jack is described by his peers as respectful, confident, culturally proud, patient, positive and trustworthy.  Jack is 16yrs of age and has played Lawn Bowls at a representative level and has his eye on representing Australia at the Commonwealth Games. He lives in Penrith with his twin sister Lilly, who is also a NASCA NAIDOC Award finalist. When not bushwalking or hanging with his mates, Jack enjoys drawing. Well done, Jack!

Celebrate NAIDOC and be part of NASCA’s campaign to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and excellence.

The NASCA NAIDOC Youth Awards recognises the contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in their local community acknowledging their outstanding achievements.

Modelled on NASCA’s values, we will recognise student achievement and excellence in five categories;

  • Excellence – Being the best you can be
  • Integrity – Doing the right thing
  • Trust – Believing in yourself and others
  • Collaboration – Being an active member of the NASCA community
  • Cultural Pride and Inclusion – Always was, always will be, and I am always proud
  • Youth of the Year Award

In honour of the original NAIDOC week, over the next month we’ll be releasing powerful videos of NASCA participants who deserve meaningful recognition. Every week we’ll have new films of young people telling their stories in their own words. 

Register here