Moree Secondary College year 12 student Elka Devney has been named as one of only 35 students recognised across the state for being an outstanding all-rounder during her secondary years.
Elka has received the NSW Minister's Award for Excellence in Student Achievement, a prestigious award that recognises outstanding year 12 students who have demonstrated high achievement in academic excellence, leadership, sports, culture and commitment to the school community.
"I was so excited," Elka said of when she found out she'd won the award.
"It means the world to me; in the year we've had, not being able to get out in the community and do what I'd normally do has been hard.
"But to recognise the work I've done in the community over the past years means a lot. To be from a country school and to represent my school also means a lot."
Elka has been an active member of Moree Secondary College's Aboriginal Education Consult Group and last year she participated in the NSW Department of Education Secretary for a Day program, won the Rotary District 9650's public speaking competition, was a regional finalist in the Lions Youth of the Year competition and was the regional winner of ABC's Heywire creative writing competition, which saw her participate in the 2019 ABC Heywire National Youth Summit in Canberra.
She was also named Moree's 2020 Young Citizen of the Year during this year's Australia Day awards.
Elka actively involves herself in extracurricular activities such as school musicals and MADD showcases and has qualified for state swimming.
She was nominated for the Minister's Award by Moree Secondary College careers adviser Sheree Cayirylys, in recognition of her contributions to the school and community.
"Elka is an exemplary student whose diligence and determination is evident and she is held in high regard by the community and school," Mrs Cayirylys said in her nomination.
MSC deputy principal Belinda Bagshaw said the school is extremely proud of Elka.
"It's an exceptional award for an exceptional student," she said.
"She's always striving for excellence and personal best. Full credit to the efforts made."
Elka is hoping to go to university in 2021 to study either communications or teaching.
She has already received a number of early entry offers but is waiting for all her offers to come in before she makes her final decision.