TALENTED Peel High School all-rounder, Janaya Lamb, has been awarded a prestigious Prime Minister’s medal for excellence.
The Year 8 student was one of just 20 students state-wide to be bestowed the PM’s NAIDOC Medal after entering the creative writing segment of the NAIDOC Week School Initiative Competitions earlier this year.
Ms Lamb won the contest, which received more than 100,000 entries across four categories for primary and high school students, after being tasked with writing a newspaper article about a specific NAIDOC event and explaining the importance of the occasion to the local Aboriginal community.
The competition, which provides young Australians with an opportunity to learn more about indigenous heritage and foster understanding, was judged by a panel of big-name celebrities, including R&B pop sensation Jessica Mauboy and rugby league star Dylan Farrell.
The youngster, who was unaware she was receiving the medal, said she was “overwhelmed” when NAIDOC Week 2013 Schools Initiative executive director Dylan Williams presented her with the award at the school’s annual presentation day yesterday.
“It was all a big shock for me,” the unassuming 13-year-old said.
“It was the first award – I started crying.
“I thought it was going to go to a Year 12 or Year 10 and above student because it was that big. But then they began mentioning things a bit towards what I was doing but I still thought, no it couldn’t be.”
It took Ms Lamb, who is also an accomplished singer, dancer and sportswoman, about five days to complete the 300-word article, which centred on the origins of NAIDOC Week celebrations and the importance of Tamworth’s festivities, including the annual NAIDOC Week march.
Mother, Melanie, said she was “extremely proud” of her daughter’s achievement.
“I tell her ‘you’re my inspiration’,” she said.
“She does so well in everything she puts her mind to. She’s a fantastic role model.”
The teenager said she was still divided as to where she would display her latest piece of hardware.
“I’ll probably put it up in my room somewhere where everyone can see it, or I’ll put it away in a glass box so it doesn’t get ruined,” she said.