TAFE rewards achievers

Inspired: Mount Pritchard's Samantha Mancuso was the winner of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award. Picture: Simon Bennett

Inspired: Mount Pritchard's Samantha Mancuso was the winner of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year Award. Picture: Simon Bennett

TAFE South Western Sydney Institute honoured two locals at its annual achievement and excellence in vocational education awards night last week.

Jessica Grima from Austral was named School-based Apprentice/Trainee of the Year.

Samantha Mancuso from Mount Pritchard was the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year.

They were chosen from more than 150 nominations for the top TAFE honours.

Institute director Peter Roberts said the 20th Student Achievement Awards were a celebration of south-west Sydney's brightest.

"Jessica and Samantha were chosen from a great depth of talent at [the TAFE institute]," Mr Roberts said.

"I would like to congratulate them and acknowledge the contribution of their family and institute staff in supporting their studies."

Samantha Mancuso, 19, said she had never won an award before, so this sort of recognition had inspired to work harder.

"I have never won something this big before," she said.

"When the call came through saying I had won the Aboriginal Student of the Year I was shocked.

"I was ecstatic as well. It was exciting."

Miss Mancuso said her heritage has played an important part in her life.

"My mum is Aboriginal and my dad is Italian, but it is my dad who really embraces the Aboriginal culture," she said.

"They both make sure that me and my sister learn about our culture.

"My mum didn't know that much when she was younger, so it has been great for us all to learn together."

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