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Whyalla's youth shines bright at annual awards

Emily Rawlings was named the 2017 Graeme Jose Spirit of Whyalla Award winner at a glittering night of entertainment at the MIddleback Arts Centre.

Whyalla’s outstanding young citizens were recognised this week at the 2017 Graeme Jose Spirit of Whyalla Awards.

Eighteen of the city’s brightest and most dynamic young people were nominated and presented during the annual awards night at the Middleback Arts Centre on Wednesday night. The awards, organised and hosted by the City of Whyalla, were well attended and the judging was no easy task given the quality of young people nominated again this year.

joseAfter wowing the crowd with a solo guitar and singing performance as part of the night’s entertainment, 18-year-old Emily Rawlings (right) was a popular and deserving winner of the 2017 Graeme Jose Spirit of Whyalla Award.

Alicia Renton, 17, was the first runner up, Mikayla Lorenz, 17, the second runner up while Chevez Gepp, 15, took out the Eddie Hughes Recognition Trophy. The awards are for young people 12 to 18 years old

Whyalla Mayor Lyn Breuer was present to speak and help hand out the awards with the Member for Giles Eddie Hughes along with many councillors. Local youth advocate Chelsea Lieberwirth was a guest speaker while Jack Spurling, Daniel Weidenbach, Blake Brougham and Trinitie Fazah joined Emily in providing the outstanding entertainment on the night.

Graeme Jose was born and bred Whyalla Olympian. He represented Australia in cycling at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games in both individual and team events but was tragically killed at the age of just 21 while competing the following year in Austria.

The Graeme Jose Spirit of Whyalla Awards were established in his honour and have been running now for 44 years.

“I remember Graeme as a really nice fella who care about others, loved life and loved Whyalla,” Mayor Lyn Breuer said during her speech on the night.

“He wasn’t a guy who would blow his own trumpet, he just got on doing what he liked doing for his sport and the community.

“When you look at the tonight’s winners and past winners of these awards, you find they are all like that, they are quiet achievers in sports, music, arts and community organisations.

“They are peer group mentors and role models for other young people.”

Emily’s win came as a complete shock to her but not to those that know her. As well as being a talented musician, Emily is heavily involved in the Whyalla community with a wide range of activities and endeavours.

Amongst others things, Emily runs her own radio show on community station 5YYY and is an accomplished artist who makes wonderful works from rubbish she picks up around the town. She is also involved in the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), helps out with fundraising, is helping organise McHappy Day in Whyalla and is currently helping a local wildlife rescue organisation to get established.

“I need to thank my parents for always supporting me and driving me around and everyone that made this possible including the Mayor Lyn Breuer and Eddie Hughes,” Emily said.

“It was a complete shock I didn’t think I had any chance of winning this.”

As for her motivation to be involved in so many community and creative endeavours, Emily had a simple answer.

“It gives you a chicken soup for the soul feeling,” Emily said.

“I like giving to people, making people happy, making them laugh and bringing joy to them.”

Mayor Breuer was one of many that wasn’t surprised by the win.

“Emily is one of these amazing talented young people and I think we’ll hear much about Emily in the future,” Mayor Breuer said.

“I’ve heard and seen her work and love it as I’m sure everyone does.”

The evening was hosted by City of Whyalla Executive Officer Jane Hayward who was also the co-organiser with council’s Youth Development Officer Gail Rostig. Judges for the awards were past nominee Sinead Hollingworth-Hughes, councillor Tim Breuer and Whyalla Youth Mayor Ethan Klobucar.

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This year's nominees:

Not in order: Morgan Skinner; Shannan Herbert; Chevez Gepp; Alicia Renton; Amalia Evans; Blake Brougham; Emily Evans; Amelia Clayton; Ashlin Holmes; Emily Rawlings; Mikayla Lorenz; Brydie Horgan; David Dixon; Luke Hage; Madeline Foran; Daniel Siwek; Jorja Eldridge; Abby Goodwin

 

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Jack Spurling (left) belts out a number while Chelsea Lieberwirth spoke impressively.

 

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Piano player Daniel Weidenbach (left)  entertained the crowd while Eddie Hughes addressed the audience.

 

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The winners Chevez Gepp, Mikayla Lorenz, Emily Rawlings and Alicia Renton with, back, Mayor Lyn Breuer, Eddie Hughes and Chelsea Lieberwirth

 

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Trinitie Fazah and Blake Brougham, left, impressed with their performance as did Emily Rawlings.

 

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