Edition 21: February 2018

View this email in your browser

Celebrating our Mob

In this newsletter we celebrate some of the deadly talent within our local community. Young people who are standing up and standing out - emerging as our future leaders. Across a range of fields, from the arts to academia, they're letting their lights shine!

In this edition:

  • Georgia sets her own pace
  • Jaydifah's healthy future
  • Our Deadly Mob
  • Sam's our Miss Congeniality 
  • Isaiah Spearim - maintaining the dream
  • Isaiah Firebrace workshop

Georgia sets her own pace

Georgia Taggart has had a big January.

From Australia Day lunch at Government House with Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Governor David Hurley, to being named Tamworth's Young Citizen of the Year, and carrying the Queen's Baton in the Tamworth leg of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games' Baton Relay - she is a young woman with a lot going on.

No wonder she is taking a year off from study!

This year has been earmarked as a "gap year" for Georgia, during which she will work as hard as she can and do some travel, with trips to Thailand and Europe already on the cards. It is a well deserved break for a very hard-working contributor to the community.

In 2017 Georgia was School Captain of Tamworth High School where she excelled academically, in the arts and on the sporting field. As a result of her achievements Georgia was the recipient of the 2017 Brian Sampson Memorial Award as well as winning the 2017 Principal's Gold Medal for the second year in a row.

Georgia says that the awards don't rank highly among the things that she really values though. "I don't do it for awards," Georgia says, "I just love to help people and be a part of my community. That is what gives me the greatest joy." Its not difficult to believe from Georgia.

Getting the opportunity to run with the Baton as part of the Queen's Baton Relay as it came through Tamworth on Wednesday 31 January has been a highlight. "It was all over really quickly, but it was such an adrenaline rush!" Georgia said. The only difficult part of discovering that she had been named as a baton bearer was keeping it a secret from her parents. Georgia received her phone call two weeks before the official announcement, and wasn't allowed to tell anyone until the news was made public.

"I really didn't know what to say when they rang me," Georgia said, "I'm sure there was at least a 30 second pause, I just couldn't believe it!"

When the official list of Baton Bearers was finally released Georgia was stunned to find out that she was the only female selected to represent Tamworth. The day itself was a wonderful experience with Georgia travelling on the Queen's Baton Relay bus with the other local baton bearers, each sharing their inspirational stories. "I'm just so thankful to whoever nominated me," Georgia said, "it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity."


Georgia attended Army First Look 2016 and is keen to pursue a career in the Army after her gap year.

Georgia carrying the Queen's Baton along Bridge Street (top) and with the other baton bearers for Tamworth at the final event in Bicentennial Park.
Photo credits: David Bradbery (top left) and the Northern Daily Leader (top right).
Jaydifah's healthy future

Jaydifah Boney dreams of being a surgeon one day. And the 2017 Tamworth High School prefect is well on her way!

Inspired by an episode of sickness that affected her grandmother, Jaydifah has known since Year 9 that she had her sights set on a career in Health. In Year 10, she applied for and was accepted to attend the Kruki Summer School (pronounced Croc – I) – a program developed to give Indigenous students an insight into studying through the Joint Medical Program delivered by the University of Newcastle, University of New England and NSW Health. And the hands-on experience was just what Jaydifah needed to cement her goals.

Last year she finished her HSC at Tamworth High and was successful in being accepted into the Nursing program at UNE, receiving the Smith Family Tertiary Scholarship to help her on her way.

Jaydifah has always set her bar high, and while she is kicking off her career with a Nursing degree, she is already planning her next step to her ultimate dream as a doctor or surgeon.

Jaydifah pictured outside the LALC Office in January.

Our Deadly Mob


The Aboriginal Cultural Showcase was an opportunity to showcase the very best emerging and established Aboriginal talent at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, one of Australia's biggest annual festivals.

With major sponsors NSWALC and Training Services NSW on board, the four day event attracted crowds in their hundreds each night, with at least one new visitor calling it "the highlight of the Tamworth Festival."

Other sponsors who made the 2018 event possible included Tamworth and Armidale Children Services (TAACS), Tamworth Aboriginal Medical Services (TAMS) and HealthWISE NENW and Create NSW.

The Aboriginal Cultural Showcase found its home on the ABC Stage this year, at the corner of Peel and White Streets and in the heart of the Festival action. Each night commenced with a Welcome or Acknowledgement to Country, followed by the Young Deadly Connection dance group, before the line-up of musicians began.

Some big names included Roger Knox, Warren H Williams and Dave Leha (Radical Son) who performed alongside some of the best emerging talent at the Festival - from 9-year old Ann-Marie to young music students with plenty of talent to spare. Tamworth young people who were featured included Danielle Fogg, Noah Overs, Brad Houldsworth and Quarralia Knox.

Feedback has been excellent with 100% of respondents to a Facebook survey saying that the Showcase couldn't be better, and other comments including "This is incredible!"; "A truly wonderful experience"; "A community that knows the way [to showcase culture]"; and "I love every year, thank you!".

Top left and clockwise: Large crowds gathered to see the Showcase each night; Showcase patron Roger Knox with Country Music Festival founder Barry Harley and fellow musician Warren H Williams; Crs Charles Lynch and Roy Ah-See from NSWALC with TLALC's Brittni Wann; Queen of Country Music entrant Samantha Duncan with Judah Kelly, winner of The Voice Australia 2017.
Sam's our Miss Congeniality

Samantha Duncan's quest to become the 2018 Queen of Country Music has been history-making.

As the only Aboriginal entrant since 2006 and the only Aboriginal entrant ever sponsored by an Aboriginal organisation, Samantha represented her culture and young Aboriginal women with grace and style. 

The dynamic young leader left an impression on the other entrants, winning herself the title of Miss Congeniality on the awards night. Miss Congeniality is nominated by the other entrants and is a title given to the entrant who makes the Quest a joyful experience for everyone, something that Sam does everywhere she goes.

Despite missing out on the main crown, Samantha hopes that she has paved the way for many more young Aboriginal women to step up in future years.

"My role with the Tamworth Opportunity Hub sees me working with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students across over 20 local schools, with a focus on supporting young people to set their sights high and work towards achieving their dreams," Sam said.

"My decision to join the 2018 Queen Quest was about representing my home town of Tamworth and particularly our Aboriginal community in a positive light, and to be that role model who aims higher and in doing so, breaks down barriers for others."

We think you've done just that Sam. Congratulations!
Isaiah Spearim - maintaining the dream

Isaiah Spearim was inspired to dance from a young age by his Uncle Pauly Spearim, a highly respected Gamilaroi song and dance man. Gaining experience and opportunities through the Gomeroi Dance Company further affirmed his passion and made it accessible to him. Isaiah danced all through High School, performing at a number of major events facilitated through the school including School Spectacular, the 2015 Netball World Cup and the Sydney Opera House. 

After catching the eye of Bangarra Dance Company recruiters, Isaiah was participating in Bangarra’s Rekindling program when he first found out about the NAISDA (National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association) Dance College. Isaiah went on to finish school and then applied and was accepted to the prestigious course.

Isaiah loved his first year at NAISDA but he encountered difficulties getting around Sydney without having a driver’s license and was unable to accumulate enough log book hours due to his study commitments. He reluctantly returned to Tamworth for a year, where for the past 12 months he has been working full-time at Teys and teaching students to dance through the Opportunity Hub. Most importantly, the time off allowed Isaiah to gain enough log book hours to get his Ps only a few months after returning home and he has since bought his own car.  In 2018, Isaiah is returning to NAISDA to finish his qualification and follow his lifelong passion for dance.
Performing as Young Deadly Connection, Isaiah and his dance students featured large in the 2018 Aboriginal Cultural Showcase opening the event on each of its four nights on the ABC Stage. Large audiences gathered to see the group showcase their Aboriginal culture with pride, skill and passion.

We are proud to see Isaiah have come full-circle in this way, from being inspired to dance by his role models, to become a role-model and inspiration to others.
Isaiah Firebrace workshop

X-FACTOR winner and Eurovision grand finalist Isaiah Firebrace spent the afternoon with local Aboriginal youth on Sunday 4 February, in a special workshop at the Binaalbaa Aboriginal Learning Centre.

Over the course of the workshop Isaiah shared his story about what it takes to make your dream a reality – reinforcing the importance of believing in yourself, hard work and dedication. It was important for young people to take chances and overcome the “shame” factor, Isaiah said.

A question and answer session had students enthralled, covering topics from school, to singing and Isaiah's own experience of growing up with nothing, and having to sacrifice in order to chase his dreams of becoming a singer.

The love and support from of Isaiah's family helped him make his own dream become reality and students went away thinking about their own dreams and the importance of the support people in their own lives.

We are excited to report that Isaiah has said he is keen to return to Tamworth for future workshops and to continue working with the Opportunity Hub and the Tamworth LALC on future projects, so watch this space!
Clockwise from top left: Isaiah Firebrace with the Tamworth LALC and Opportunity Hub team; 9 year old Hillvue student Anne-Marie Maguire sings for Isaiah, with Noah Overs and Danielle Fogg looking on, and Buddy Knox on guitar; Students attended from across Tamworth schools on the day.

The Tamworth Opportunity Hub coordinates and matches training and career opportunities with Aboriginal students, providing incentives to finish school and transition into sustainable jobs. 

Tamworth Opportunity Hub can be contacted at:
Address: 123 Marius Street, TAMWORTH NSW 2340
Phone: (02) 6766 9028; Fax: (02) 6766 9036
Facebook: Opportunity Hub Tamworth or via the link below

Follow us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

The Tamworth Opportunity Hub is proudly supported by

Copyright © 2018 Opportunity Hub Tamworth, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp