Board gives $2900 to Youth Ambassador awardees

With 10 very impressive candidates to choose from, the Saddle Hill Community Board had the difficult task of deciding who would be recipients of their Youth Ambassador Award. After hearing from the candidates and much discussion that highlighted all the young people who applied were very talented, the board decided to award a total of $2900 to six young people.

The Youth Ambassador Award recipients are:

Elise Carline ($750)

Elise is a 17-year-old Queen’s High School basketballer who has been selected for the Otago Under 20 Rep Team and is an Otago Sports Academy member. She has been invited to attend the Steven Adams Invitational US Tour later this month and has also been invited to attend trials for the Junior Tall Ferns Team, travelling to China for the Asia Cup in June.

Charlotte Aburn ($750)

St Hilda’s Collegiate pupil Charlotte, 15, won gold at the Surf Lifesaving 2023 Nationals in the surf race under-15 category and again won gold this year at the Surf Lifesaving 2024 Nationals in the run swim run and board under-17 categories. She is also an accomplished swimmer, winning gold in the 400m and 200m Otago Long Course and South Island Long Course competitions.

Jonathan Tucker ($500)

An Otago Boys High School Year 13 sports prefect, Jonathan, 17, is heading to Sydney this month with the Under-19 New Zealand Secondary Schools Football team. As well as being a goalkeeper he is a goalkeeper coach for the year 9 and 10 junior football teams at the school.

Dan Kelleher ($300)

Kings High School pupil Dan, 15, is a keen triathlete, and is active in the Dunedin Triathlon Club, Cycling Otago and Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club. He is aiming to compete at the National Triathlon Championships and National Athletic Championships among many other events coming up.

Jenny Petegem Thach ($300)

Taieri College year 11 pupil Jenny, 15, is an accomplished musician, playing both the clarinet and the violin. She is a member of the Dunedin Youth Orchestra and the Dunedin Wind Orchestra. Jenny, her brother Matthew Petegem Thach and friend Joshua Chin formed the chamber music group A Quaver Too Short, which received high commendation in the Otago district round of the NZCT Chamber Music Contest. She hopes to win an Institute of Registered Music Teachers of New Zealand scholarship.

Matthew Petegem Thach ($300)

Taieri College pupil Matthew, 14, began playing guitar when he was 9 and also plays the violin and piano. He is a member of the Dunedin Youth Orchestra as well as playing in chamber music group A Quaver Too Short with his sister. He has also performed at community events, such as the Cambodian New Year, as well as some busking. He hopes to gain a place in the New Zealand Secondary School Symphony Orchestra and is practising for the auditions in September.