Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Quiet achievers recognised with state awards

Three Cobram residents have been honoured at the Victorian Multicultural Awards for Excellence.

JESSICA GRIMBLE December 28, 2012 4:30am

Lauren McKeown, Cobram Secondary College teacher.

Three Cobram residents have been honoured at the Victorian Multicultural Awards for Excellence.

Angelo Ballerini was recognised for his voluntary contribution to the multicultural community of Cobram and Mario Crisafulli for his outstanding voluntary contribution to the town’s Italian community.

Teacher Lauren McKeown of Cobram Secondary College was honoured for her efforts in global education.

The three received the awards at Government House in Melbourne on Tuesday last week.

Ms McKeown introduced a number of innovative programs with her Year 10 students, aiming to engage them in authentic activities to develop their sense of social responsibility and their ability to make a positive contribution to their community — as well as globally.

Notably, she brought the ‘‘Hungry4Change’’ education program, exploring issues of poverty and hunger, to the school earlier this year.

The banquet involved the whole school and demonstrated inequality worldwide. It raised money for Oxfam.

‘‘I was gobsmacked,’’ Ms McKeown said of winning the award.

Ms McKeown said while she wouldn’t be teaching senior students at the school next year, she would bring global education studies to younger students and promote contributions to their local community.

State Member for Murray Valley Tim McCurdy congratulated the award recipients.

‘‘Cobram is a vibrant and diverse multicultural community, with 13 per cent of the population speaking a language other than English at home,’’ Mr McCurdy said.

‘‘The main languages, other than English, are Italian, Arabic and Punjabi.

‘‘The Italian community has used its skills in the fruit growing industry, sharing resources, working together and building our communities.

‘‘Over the past 10 years Cobram has also become home to a very strong Iraqi community and to watch junior football and see the Italian and Iraqi kids playing with fifth generation Australian kids, is to see multiculturalism is alive and well.’’

Mr McCurdy said the Multicultural Awards for Excellence confirmed the accomplishments of people, communities and organisations that support cultural diversity and community harmony as well as assist communities to fully participate in Victorian life.

Mr McCurdy said the awards recognised the outstanding efforts of recipients who represented diverse fields including health, education, local government, media and community services who are working to serve the state’s multicultural and wider communities.

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