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    COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Proud Wotjobaluk woman Bianca Lauricella, 18, accepts a 2019 Rising Star Award at the 23rd Ricci Marks Awards ceremony in Melbourne.

‘Rising star’ Bianca recognised

A Horsham netballer and proud Wotjobaluk woman has become the 2019 recipient of a Rising Star award for her leadership and contributions in the Indigenous community.

Bianca Lauricella, 18, won the award at the 23rd Ricci Marks Awards ceremony at Melbourne Museum.

The awards acknowledge the individual achievements and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 16 to 25 in training, education, arts, sports, culture and community leadership.

Ms Lauricella’s nan, Hazel McDonald, said the award was recognition of her granddaughter’s community involvement and endeavour to create difference in the representation and future of her Indigenous community.

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“Not many people with intellectual disabilities get nominated for these awards or think they are good enough,” Ms McDonald said.

“Bianca is one of the future leaders for her people and has grown into a deadly Koorie woman.

“She wants to make a difference for Koorie people to go forward in sport and help change things. 

“Her main aspiration is to join Victoria Police and increase Indigenous representation.”

Ms McDonald said her granddaughter was a Taylors Lake C Reserve netballer, has played with Horsham Whippets disability team for about six years, and will represent Victoria for the fourth time next month at a national all-abilities netball championship in Brisbane.

She is Horsham Special Development School captain this year.

Ms Lauricella said she was honoured to be both nominated for, and win, an award in memory of her cousin Ricci Marks – a community leader and proud Wotjobaluk man from Halls Gap who the awards were named after.

He died in a car accident in 2000.

Ms Lauricella said she felt proud of her achievements and encouraged other people facing disability to believe in themselves and what they can achieve. 

“I’m very proud of myself,” she said.

“To all the people out there with disabilities, don’t think you can’t enter awards events like this. 

“If I can achieve this award, you can too.

“ I just want to tell people to go ahead and try.”

The entire September 11, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!