SAMANTHA Kerr, the 24-year-old who has taken the soccer world by storm, has been named Young Australian of the Year.
The footballer was presented her award by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the Australian of the Year ceremony at Parliament House in Canberra.
The second honour of the night went to Eddie Woo, the inspirational mathematics teacher who is revolutionising education.
The Sydney maths teacher was named the 2018 Australia’s Local Hero.
In her speech, Kerr said she was “truly humbled”.
“It is a massive honour. Australia Day means a great deal to me and my family and
being Australian is something we are all very proud of,” Kerr told the audience.
“For me, personally, nothing gives me a greater sense than pulling on the No. 20 jersey for the Matildas. I truly view this award not just for me but rather as an endorsement of the
achievements of the Australian women’s football national team and more broadly, Australian women’s football and women’s sport in general.”
Kerr, from Western Australia, is the biggest name in Australian soccer — of either gender.
When her dream of playing Aussie Rules in the AFL for the West Coast Eagles was shot down because of her sex, Kerr switched to another football code — soccer.
By the time she was 15, she was representing Australia in the Matildas. Now aged 24, she has played for Sydney FC and Perth Glory and now competes in America’s National Women’s Soccer League, recently becoming its all-time leading goal scorer.
In 2017, she was named a finalist for FIFA Female Player of the Year.
The National Australia Day council described Kerr as “an inspirational sportsperson, a champion of equality and a young woman whose achievements serve as motivation for girls to aim high and chase their dreams”.
Eddie Woo, the inspirational mathematics teacher who is revolutionising education, has been named the 2018 Australia’s Local Hero at the Australian of the Year awards.
The head mathematics teacher at Cherrybrook Technology High School in Western Sydney started posting videos online in 2012 for a student who was ill with cancer.
Wootube now boasts more than 100,000 subscribers and has attracted more than eight million views.
In his powerful acceptance speech, Woo told the audience how education can “can radically change the trajectory of a child’s life”.
“It can transform the possibilities of what a child can become and achieve. That can change a life, a family and a community forever. Five years ago, I started posting my lessons online to
help other people learn about maths.
“But when I did, I learned something about maths too. I’ve learned that while mathematics is hard, it’s something everyone wants to understand.”
Woo said he was honoured to receive the award.
“Mathematics is for everyone. It’s the key to unlocking a universe of beautiful patterns, practical solutions and surprising connections. That universe beckons to all of us if we will just embrace it. I’m honoured to receive this award.
More to come