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Aurukun’s top citizens awarded for leadership

[supplied by Liz Inglis]

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Chantelle Walmbeng and Craig Koomeeta. Image: supplied

Koolkan Aurukun State School Principal Baressa Frazer was awarded the Aurukun Citizen of the Year and Police Liaison Officer Chantelle Walmbeng was awarded Junior Citizen of the Year at a ceremony in the community.

 

Aurukun Mayor Keri Tamwoy said the annual Aurukun Shire Council awards recognised people who had shown community leadership for the Wik, Wik Waya and Kugu people.

 

"I congratulate Baressa and Chantelle who are outstanding role models for the youth of Aurukun and are determined that our younger generation will have a better future on their homelands,” Mayor Tamwoy said.

 

“Baressa is a strong, elegant and passionate Wik woman who is a tireless advocate for Aurukun’s children.

 

“She has returned to her community to lead local education as the Principal of Koolkan Aurukun State School where she connects teachers and employees to culture and community. “Her passion and knowledge of culture, language and community is invaluable, and she teaches both children and adults with a gentle strength.

 

“Baressa has researched, designed and is implementing a Wik pedagogy at Koolkan Aurukun State School, collaborating with the Language Group, Elders and the APN Rangers to bring this theory into action.

 

“The work is monumental and is creating a pathway for Aurukun students to successfully learn while keeping their culture alive.

 

“Chantelle was an active founding member of the PCYC Kang Kang Youth Leadership team where she volunteered her time and was a part of many community initiatives.

 

“She became the Police Liaison Officer for PCYC Aurukun in March 2023 while completing Year 12, becoming the youngest PLO in Queensland.

 

“In this role Chantelle has demonstrated a commitment to learn and shows up every day for work on time.

 

“In her free time she has been attending Koolkan Aurukun State School to assist in the mornings and to support the young people of Aurukun in achieving an education.

 

“The young leader is speaking at the Say NO to Domestic Violence conference in Cairns this month about her life experiences and the support to reduce domestic violence in the community.

 

“Chantelle’s leadership and willingness to take on new challenges such as the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award will ensure she is a force for change in the Aurukun community for years to come.”

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