Noah Smith Awarded Lloyd McDermott Medal

The First of Many…

Year 12 student Noah Smith is Churchie’s inaugural recipient of the Lloyd McDermott Medal. This award was established in honour of Churchie Old Boy Lloyd McDermott (1957), renowned for his trailblazing success as the first Indigenous Australian barrister and a member of the Australian Wallabies rugby team. In this sense, Noah is the first of many Churchie students who, inspired by Lloyd’s legacy, will find unique ways to achieve, lead and serve others.

Noah commenced Churchie in Year 7 as a boarder and Yalari scholar. He grew up in Cairns and is descended from the Gubrun people in Western Australia and the Batjala people in Queensland. Churchie was, as is often the case for new boarders, a big new world for a boy from Cairns, leaving his parents and seven younger brothers to travel to Brisbane for boarding.

‘My parents thought it a good idea to send me to a school where I could explore my interests in depth and where I would receive the quality education to continue learning further beyond high school,’ Noah said.

After settling into Goodwin House, Noah quickly found his feet and excelled in the world of opportunities available to him at Churchie.

‘I found a keen interest in robotics and programming, and I was heavily involved with a robotics club in Years 10 and 11. I also played rugby, and, with service, I volunteered at Hillsong Brisbane Downtown Campus as a part of their stage crew for two years,’ Noah said.

Boarding also provided a supportive social environment. ‘I have most enjoyed the fun that comes from living with your friends at Churchie, being able to speak or hang out at a moment’s notice is an experience only possible when you live close by.’

In Years 11 and 12, Noah completed the IB Diploma Programme, and his academic achievements, balanced with his co-curricular and service involvement, led to him being the first recipient of a new award for all-round excellence presented at Speech Night in October.

The Lloyd McDermott Medal is awarded to an outstanding Indigenous student who has achieved academic standing and contributed to the life of the School. The recipient must be a role model and a leader, involved in service, co-curricular and spiritual awareness activities. Following Lloyd’s example, he also must demonstrate integrity and humility and a commitment to learning and the advancement of Indigenous engagement at the School.

We congratulate Noah for being an exemplary Churchie young man, making the most of his opportunities and having a positive impact on those around him—a well-deserving recipient of this new honour.

Noah encourages future boarding and Yalari students to have an open mind and take the time to learn and adapt to the new environment.

‘For future Yalari students, I would also say to trust your SSO and to trust Waverley. They’re there to help you and you shouldn’t have to worry about your ability to achieve highly. You just need to look at yourself and work to achieve whatever you can. If you do, you’ll find yourself a lot happier and a lot more successful at school,’ Noah said.

‘To the wonderful people who have sponsored me on a Yalari scholarship, followed my journey through school and opened my future to a world of possibilities — thank you. I would not be where I am today without your belief and support, and I am very grateful.’

Next year Noah plans to continue his education and study computer science at QUT.

On behalf of both the Churchie and Yalari communities, we wish him the very best, with continued success and much happiness.


Yalari respects our Elders, past and present, and acknowledges that our office is on Kombumerri country within the lands of the Yugambeh language group

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4 Helensvale Road, Helensvale QLD 4212