Hon Tony Simpson MLA — Speaking out: Teen leader is WA’s top youth

Hon Tony Simpson MLA — Speaking out: Teen leader is WA’s top youth

2An Aboriginal high school student who has overcome multiple challenges to speak out at a national level against prejudice has been named WA Young Person of the Year.

At the 2014 WA Youth Awards last night, Youth Minister Tony Simpson said 17-year-old James Clarke was an inspirational young man who had shown outstanding courage.

A Lockridge Senior High School student, James faced huge challenges when coming out as homosexual in year 10. Since then, he has made a stand to educate his classmates, teachers and the wider community about the need to eliminate prejudice in schools.

He has participated in several public speaking engagements and has been influential in developing a set of WA school guidelines for supporting sexual and gender diversity.

James has now taken his campaign interstate, travelling with the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy as part of a youth-led campaign for equality.

“James is a young man who has refused to accept bullying and shame, and has used his outstanding leadership qualities to gain the respect of his peers,” Mr Simpson said.

“His resilience and self-determination have made him a leader for social justice at a very early age and his actions have had a profound and lasting effect on his school and beyond.”

James was also named winner of the Commissioner for Children and Young People Participate Award.

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