2019 Western Australian of the Year Awards

Community Award Finalists

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The Community Award is presented in celebration of excellence in commitment to, and contribution towards, improving the quality of lives in the Western Australian community, at a state, national or international level.

Meet our 2019 Community Award finalists:

Ricky Grace

Ricky “Amazing” Grace is a former professional basketball player who has served Western Australia both as a basketball champion and an Australian Olympian. Inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, his illustrious career includes four NBL championships, two grand final Most Valuable Player awards, four All-NBL First Team selections and his career highlight, representing Australia as a member of the 2000 Sydney Olympic basketball team.

In retirement, Ricky is working harder than ever. He founded Role Models and Leaders Australia and CEO of Girls Academy, a program which supports the education and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students throughout Australia. He has worked tirelessly for more than ten years in leading this program that supports thousands of young Australians and is CEO of Girls Academy.

In 2018, the Commissioner for Children and Young People WA, Colin Pettit, appointed Ricky as an Ambassador for Children and Young People during a major round-table meeting with Members of WA Parliament, representatives from the Education Department, the head of the Western Australian Mental Health Commission, WA Department of Health staff and a range of academics. Ambassadors for Children and Young People are eminent Western Australians who have a significant role in the community and a strong commitment to supporting children, young people and their families.

Ricky’s difficult childhood served as an inspiration for the direction he took after basketball. He credits a mentor for encouraging him to pursue his goals and his hard-working mother for emphasising the importance of education.

In Ricky’s own words: “I have managed to overcome any issues with honesty, humanity and humility.”

Bruce Langoulant AM

As Chairperson of the Disability Services Commission Board (WA), co-founder and Chairperson of the Meningitis Centre Australia, and founding President of the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations, Bruce Langoulant has made a significant contribution in the areas of disability, health, community wellbeing and advocacy.

Bruce’s passion for meningitis awareness comes from caring for his daughter, Ashleigh, who contracted the disease when she was only six months old. This happened before a vaccine for the disease was available. Ashleigh, who turns 30 this year, was soon diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and intellectual disabilities.

Bruce and his family have successfully lobbied for the introduction of several meningitis vaccines onto the National Immunisation Plan, and have shown a genuine commitment to helping others. Bruce has made a positive impact on the lives of many people living with disability – including meningitis sufferers -improving access to vaccines and treatment, as well as raising the all-important level of community awareness.

He is well connected in the disability sector, and is continuously engaged in the promotion of the meningitis cause through public relations, social media, and personal speeches at community and sector events.

Bruce became a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in January 2019 in recognition for the endless collaborative work that he has been done over the years.

James McMahon DSC DSM

James’s career in the Australian Defence Force spanned 22 years of full time service, from 1985 to 2007, during which time he has given outstanding service to his country, including time as a soldier and Commanding Officer of the SAS.

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for command and leadership in action in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) for leadership in action in Timor-Leste.

After his roles in the military and as a Chief Operating Officer of a corporate advisory firm, James’s leadership skills saw him appointed as Commissioner for the Department of Corrective Services in 2013 to implement a reform agenda. In making the appointment, the Corrective Services Minister, Joe Francis, described James’s career as one defined by leadership, courage, integrity and an ability to bring about organisational change.

Always focusing on rehabilitation, James’s efforts in the role saw the establishment of the Youth Justice Board and the Reconciliation Action Plan for Corrective Services.

James’s commitment to WA is evident through the many community organisations in which he is involved. He proudly represents the McCusker Centre for Citizenship, is an ambassador for The Fathering Project and, as a Board Member of the West Coast Eagles, has been instrumental in implementing their values of “professionalism, leadership and passion.”

Since leaving full-time military service in 2007 James has demonstrated his continued personal commitment to defence families, supporting current serving personnel, returned service personnel and defence families in need.

Lee Musumeci

As Principal of Challis Community Primary School for 16 years, Lee Musmeci has transformed the quality of teaching and established pioneering programs for children in the community. She won the WA Principal of the Year Award in 2010 for her innovative and visionary leadership in early childhood education with programs that made a significant impact on the community.

Lee creates real opportunities for Challis children and, while she admits that she knows nothing about music, understands the impact it has on a child’s brain development. It’s why she introduced California-based Joe Ybarra’s leading teacher development program to her students with incredible results, as well as developing another innovative music initiative that was featured on ABC TV’s documentary ‘Don’t Stop the Music’.

Subsequently, Lee jumped at the opportunity presented by production company Artemis and producer Celia Tait to be involved in the documentary. It provided Challis students with access to free musical instruments, and tuition from Guy Sebastian, trumpet virtuoso James Morrison and WA Academy of Performing Arts senior lecturer Michael McCarthy.

In 2017-18, Lee established the first primary school Aboriginal Girls Academy – the only one of its kind in Australia – where girls have extra tuition, incursions, focus on their health and wellbeing and cultural awareness to help them consider career pathways that might lead them to university.

Her commitment to bringing the best, evidence-based educational approaches has demonstrated that, given the opportunity, everyone can achieve greatness.

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