Ella Sandeman from Mount Elliot has been nominated for a Western Sydney University Academic Achievement Award, part of the 2021 7news Young Achiever Awards NSW/ACT.
The award recognises young people who display a passion, drive, and willingness to learn.
Sandeman left school in Year 11 to complete her Certificate 4 in Tertiary Preparation in 2019, scoring a UAC ranking of 99.05.
After completing a Diploma of Visual Art at Ourimbah TAFE in 2020, she enrolled in a Bachelor of Health Science at Western Sydney University for a Master’s in Occupational therapy.
She hopes to combine her knowledge and career in Occupational Therapy with her passion for singing and art.
“I have been singing ever since I was little; I think I entered a talent quest in junior school, so I have sung for a long time,” Sandeman said.
“I did more classical training at the Conservatorium of Music and then more modern training with Gina Jeffreys.
“Mainly, occupational therapy is about helping people reach their goals and working with them.
“I think art is a cool way to do this and just help (them) express themselves and have a fun time.
“Especially when working with kids with disabilities, it’s a good way for them to express themselves; same with music.”
Sandeman said completing her Certificate 4 gave her two days off a week to concentrate music and art.
“It was really good for that as I was able to get a lot better at music and art that year which was nice,” she said.
“I try to busk weekly, just at Terrigal and at some markets, and I used to do it at Lisarow, which was nice.
“My favourite thing is when I go busking, and I am singing Disney songs, a lot of little kids come up and dance.
“Just seeing them smile, laugh, and play around is the best thing ever.”
Sandeman has also completed voluntary courses such as autism training in order to participate at Camp Breakaway.
“I visited the Autism Camp (Camp Breakaway), and got to meet the kids, which was really cool,” she said.
“More recently, I went to a siblings camp.
“We got to hang out, go on waterslides, and I got to do a bit of music with them too, which was nice.”
Through singing, Sandeman has been involved in many community charity events including: a talent quest at Mingara; at Coast Shelter; at the 5 Lands Walk; at an Avoca Beach Theatre community event; at Mingara Carols, Gosford Carols, nursing homes and retirement villages.
“I want to help people, and I think I have an opportunity to help people, so I want to take that chance,” she said.
Winners of each award will be judged on February 24 with an Awards Gala Presentation Dinner on April 30.
Category winners will each receive $2,000 worth of prizes and a trophy.
One of the category winners will also be named the 2021 NSW/ACT Young Achiever of the Year and will receive a state trophy.