The awards were presented by The Hon. Sarah Mitchell, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, at a special ceremony in the Sir John Clancy Auditorium at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

The Minister’s Awards are presented each year to 10 students in recognition of their hard work and excellence in two categories, junior and senior.

The judges consider a student’s accomplishment in language achievement and fluency, appreciation of cultural background and demonstration of intercultural understanding.  

Highly commended, commended and merit certificates are also awarded to students.

“I have been studying Italian through the CO.AS.IT. Italian Association of Assistance,” Odello said.

“We have lessons every Saturday at Castle Hill High School.

“For me, the most important thing about studying a language like Italian is that it will allow me to travel and experience the culture in the country my family comes from.”

The NSW Community Languages Schools Program is managed by the NSW Department of Education and offers classes in more than 60 different community languages to 36,000 students.

Classes are held outside normal school hours, usually at a local school.

They are open to any school-aged student.

In NSW almost one third of school students have family ties to a community language other than English.

Through the NSW Community Languages Schools Program school students learn and use their own community language and learn more about their culture.

As part of this program, every week CO.AS.IT. Italian Out of School Hours teachers prepare and present lessons to students at both primary and secondary level.

They help students learn and use Italian which connects them to the language, heritage and culture of the Italian community.

CO.AS.IT. is the leading provider of Italian in the state with 14 Italian language centres across NSW, including one in Newcastle.

CO.AS.IT. has been teaching Italian for over 50 years and this award demonstrates and gives recognition to the years of experience and the high quality of the teachers and students who are part of the CO.AS.IT. Out of School Hours Italian Language and Culture Program.

“We are very proud to have one of our students receive the Minister’s Awards for Excellence as part of the NSW Community Languages Schools Program,” Thomas Camporeale, CO.AS.IT. general manager, said.

“This prestigious award is presented to only ten students for all languages across the state.

“I recognise the hard work of our teachers and congratulate Luca on his achievements, as one of five students in the junior category.”

CO.AS.IT. Award Recipients

Highly Commended

Roman Cinicola, Earlwood

Caoimhe Brollo, New Lambton

Angelina Nasso, Prestons

Sienna Nigro, Earlwood

Charlize Petracca, Five Dock

Rosa Puglisi, Mascot

Mingyui Wu, Woollahra



Jasmine Burrows, Leichhardt

Elisha Cassarino, St Johns Park

Lavinia Edington, Kegworth

Alessia Liotta, Meadowbank

Madeleine McCoubre, Five Dock

Ella Wang, Ashfield


Merit Certificates

Gemma Doriguzzi, Oatley

Massimo Russo, St Johns Park