Ricci Marks Award
$1,500 - $5,000
The Ricci Marks Award encourages and supports young Aboriginal leaders to pursue their aspirations. In 2020, two young people will each receive a $5000 bursary and a third young person will be recognised with a $1500 Rising Star Award.
This award is available to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, who:
- are aged between 16-25
- are currently undertaking training, education, arts, sports, culture and community leadership
- have lived in Victoria since 1 January 2018
Aboriginal Victoria invites all Aboriginal organisations, individuals, community groups, schools, employers and others to nominate young people for the Award.
An internal shortlisting panel will assess the nomination and choose the shortlist.
Shortlisted nominees will be invited to attend a selection interview before an external selection panel made up of community members.
All nominees and their guests will be invited to attend an Award Presentation Ceremony, where the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs will announce the winners.
Online nomination forms must include:
- A statement from the nominator outlining why the young person is being nominated.
- A statement from the nominee supporting their nomination.
- The details of a community member as a referee to support the nomination
The Ricci Marks Award originated in 1997 as the Aboriginal Young Achievers Award.
The award recognises individual achievements and aspirations of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16-25 years, in training, education, arts, sport, culture and community leadership.
About Ricci Marks
In 2004 the Award was named in memory of Ricci Marks, a recipient of the Aboriginal Young Achievers Award in 2000, who tragically died in a car accident. Ricci Marks was a proud Wotjobaluk man from Halls Gap. He worked as a cultural officer for the Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre. He was also highly regarded as a footballer, playing with the Heywood Football Club.
Ricci Marks Award winners 2019
Ashley Paxton – Ricci Marks Award recipient
Ashley is a proud Waywurru woman born and raised on Boon Wurrung country. She studied a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business at Monash University, before going on to complete her Master of Psychology at the University of Melbourne. Ashley is currently the youngest registered Aboriginal psychologist in Victoria.
Ashley has volunteered as a mentor with the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) and the Kingston Koorie Mob. Currently working as a psychologist with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, Ashley is passionate about promoting healing for her people, and rewriting mainstream ‘whitewashed’ approaches to psychology.
In support of her nomination, Ashley shared the following piece of prose: "Psychology. I read your content. But I am not reading your content at a superficial level. Nor am I reading your content to pass through your system of education… I am reading in attempt to understand your system of thinking. To try and understand how you have been able to justify practices that have oppressed, dispossessed and dehumanised my people… Yes I study. But I am not studying because I want to be a part of your system. I am studying because I want to change your system".
Staycee Charles - Ricci Marks Award recipient
Staycee is a proud Gunditjmara woman who has accomplished much at the young age of 22. She was awarded a Wannik Education Scholarship in her final years of VCE for demonstrating high potential to succeed. Staycee studied a Bachelor of Science in psychology in Canberra and in 2017 became the ACT State Coordinator for Seed Indigenous Climate Network.
She is currently the regional coordinator for Seed in Hamilton, Victoria, working to mobilise a movement of young Aboriginal people in support of climate justice. Staycee admires the resilience of her Gunditjmara mob who have fought to keep their culture alive. She aspires to become a member of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria where she can continue to give voice to the values and interests of her community.
Bianca Lauricella – Rising Star Award recipient
Bianca is a proud 18 year old Wotjobaluk woman. This year she was elected to the role of school captain at the Horsham Special Development School for her outstanding contributions to her local community. She is a talented netballer, having represented the State of Victoria on multiple occasions. She is an active member of her local Goolum Goolum Cooperative, participating annually in their Wimmera River Challenge.
Bianca aspires to one day play for the Australian All Abilities Netball team. She also hopes to one day join the Victorian Police, as she is passionate about increasing Aboriginal representation in law enforcement. In support of Bianca’s nomination her Nana Hazel expressed that “not many people with intellectual disabilities get nominated for these Awards or think that they are good enough. Bianca is one of the future leaders for her people and has grown into a deadly Koorie woman.”
Courtney Ugle – Rising Star Award recipient
Courtney is a proud Noongar woman originally from Bunbury in Western Australia. She moved to Melbourne to pursue her football career and in 2018 was named captain of the Essendon Victorian Football League Women’s team. In Melbourne, she has worked with Djirra to coordinate the Young Luv program; an early intervention and prevention program which promotes healthy relationships to Aboriginal youth.
Currently, she is the Female Football Development Coordinator at Essendon Football Club, working to increase female participation in football across the state. Her ambition is to play AFL at the highest level. At 23 years of age she has endured some enormous hardships; having lost her father to suicide at the age of 12 and her mother to domestic violence in 2016. Courtney does not want these struggles to define her. She seeks to be an encouraging force for young Aboriginal women around Australia and is motivated by her past to pursue her dreams and continue to positively influence her community.
Ricci Marks Award winners 2018
Amber Barker-Lovett – Ricci Marks Award recipient
Amber Barker-Lovett is a strong and proud Gunditjmara and Wemba Wemba young woman who is committed to making a difference in her community. Amber is actively involved in Koori youth programs in Ballarat and has been a mentor for the Ballarat to Sydney Koorie Youth Leadership Trip, the Dungulayin Mileka Team in the Massive Murray Paddle, AIME as well as the Koorie Academy of Success.
Amber is passionate about keeping Aboriginal culture alive in the Victorian community, reviving an Aboriginal women and girls dance group called the Namarilly Bagarooks (‘Dancing Daughters’) in 2014. In 2015, Amber was named Ballarat’s Miss NAIDOC and also received a City of Ballarat Youth Award. This year Amber was nominated to be the youth representative for the Ballarat City Council’s Koorie Engagement Action Group. As a member of this group, Amber ensures that the voices of Koori young people in the community are heard and taken seriously by the council.
Amber’s current role as a Koorie Youth Engagement Officer at Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-Operative has enabled her to mentor and advocate for Koori young people. She recently coordinated and delivered a campaign focused on the issue of the drug ice and its impact on the community.
In the future, Amber aspires to work with disadvantaged Aboriginal young people, particularly in the justice system. She has a vision to see young peoples’ rights valued and their voices heard.
Jedda Costa - Ricci Marks Award recipient
Jedda is a proud Wemba Wemba, Yorta Yorta and Mutti Mutti woman, born and raised on Wurundjeri land. Jedda is in her final year of a journalism degree at RMIT and is passionate about fair and balanced media, especially regarding the reportage of Indigenous affairs.
Throughout her studies Jedda has attained a number of amazing internships including SBS-NITV and ABC. These internships offered Jedda hands on journalistic experience where she was able to showcase stories from different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It is her dream to travel around the world to share stories about her culture: the oldest continuing culture on the planet.
In addition to her tertiary studies, Jedda was elected as the first ever Indigenous officer at the RMIT student union where she helps to voice the needs and concerns of Indigenous students to the wider university.
Jedda was also a communications officer at Culture is Life, a not-for-profit organisation that supports and promotes Indigenous-led solutions to strengthening culture in order to prevent youth suicide. During her time at Culture is Life, Jedda became a co-founder of the Culture Squad, a collective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who give voice to the views and cultural expression of our young people by producing strength-based content for their social media channels.
Jedda acknowledges the beautiful and strong Matriarchs who have come before her and continue to guide her on her journey.
Mikayla George – Rising Star Award
Mikayla George is an elite athlete determined to represent Australia internationally. Mikayla has a full scholarship in the Australian Aerial Skiing program at the Victorian Institute of Sport. She is one of the first Aboriginal aerial skiers in the program and is on a journey to compete at the next Winter Olympics in 2022.
Mikayla is a great role model for her community, demonstrating what can be achieved through commitment and determination. She is the 2016 Australian and Victorian Tumbling Champion and the 2017 Australian and Victoria Double Mini Trampolining Champion. In 2017, Mikayla was named Victorian NAIDOC Sports Person of the Year.
In addition to her dedication to sport, Mikayla maintains and grows strong connections to her community. Mikayla is a member of the Djirri Djirri Wurundjeri Dance Group and is actively involved in community programs with the Koori Youth Group, Koori Holiday program, and Aboriginal Gathering Place in Doveton.
Mikayla is currently in her first year of a Bachelor of Applied Science (Exercise and Sport Science) at RMIT, and already aspires to complete a Masters in Physiotherapy.
Past Ricci Marks Award recipients
Natasha Reid (Rising Star)
Elise Muller (Rising Star)
Cameron Balcome (Rising Star)
Ngaree Blow (Encouragement Award)
Mason Peter (Encouragement Award)
Vehonda (Bonnie) Smith
Edward Bryant (Encouragement Award)
Tamika Hayes (Encouragement Award)
Sarai Atkinson (Encouragement Award)
Zack Green (Encouragement Award)
Kasey Edwards (Encouragement Award)
Jirra Lulla Harvey
Peter Shane Rotumah
Reviewed 10 October 2019