North Coast

Far North Coast students awarded for excellence in Public Education

Fifteen local students received scholarships at the Proudly Public! Celebrating Excellence in Public Schools awards night at Sydney Town Hall earlier this month.

They were among almost 600 public school students and educators from across Australia to receive scholarships as part of the Public Education Foundation national awards. Since the launch of PEF’s scholarship program more than a decade ago, more than 1,500 students have been supported with life-changing scholarships. During that decade the PEF has disbursed more than $4 million in scholarship funding.

Local award winners include:

  • Tilly Jones, Southern Cross School of Distance Education, Eliza Hall Trust Opportunity Scholarship
  • Jake Beckett and Gauge Coombes, Ballina Coast High School, Andrew Casey Indigenous Scholarship
  • Lakeysia Drew, Casino High School, Andrew Casey Indigenous Scholarship
  • Brielle Wenham, Casino High School, Public Education Foundation Indigenous Scholarship
  • Hadiya Aldakhi, Coffs Harbour High School, Harding Miller Foundation Scholarship
  • Sharlee Cook, South Grafton High School, Harding Miller Foundation Scholarship
  • Jasmine Davis, Ballina Coast High School, Harding Miller Foundation Scholarship
  • Taleah Jary, Banora Point High School, Harding Miller Foundation Scholarship
  • Lily Kelsey, Nambucca Heads High School, Harding Miller Foundation Scholarship
  • Sabrin Ali, Coffs Harbour High School, Friends of Zainab Tertiary Scholarship
  • Badia Alkalo, Coffs Harbour High School, NSW Teachers Federation Tertiary Scholarship
  • Michaela McGregor, Casino High School, NSW P&C Federation Secondary Scholarship
  • Matthew Young, Maclean High School, Unions NSW Jeff Shaw Memorial Scholarship
  • Mia Thom, Byron Bay High School, Aboriginal Education Council High Achiever Scholarship

Department of Education Secretary Georgina Harrisson thanked the Public Education Foundation for its ongoing support of public education in NSW. She said the scholarships for students aimed to remove barriers to achievement created by social and economic disadvantage. “These scholarships are about recognizing student excellence and rewarding students so they can continue to maximise their potential,” Ms. Harrisson said.

“Behind many of these awards are extraordinary stories of resilience and a commitment to learning against the odds. It is a moment of great pride to see our students, teachers, and leaders who have won scholarships get their moment in the spotlight. “It is their efforts that combine to create the extraordinary public education system we have in NSW.”

Public Education Foundation executive director David Hetherington said it was wonderful to be able to hold the awards after last year’s event was canceled due to the pandemic.


“Tonight we are able to come together again to celebrate the enduring values of Australian public education. The last year has tested these values like nothing in living memory, and public schools have passed with flying colours,” Mr Hetherington said.


The Public Education Foundation is a charity dedicated to enhancing the value and reputation of public education by providing life-changing scholarships to its students, teachers and principals.


For a full list of scholarship recipients visit: