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AWARD School was delighted to announce its top students for 2019 in each state in a celebration of emerging talent at graduation ceremonies held in capital cities around the country on Wednesday night (31 July).

AWARD School was delighted to announce its top students for 2019 in each state in a celebration of emerging talent at graduation ceremonies held in capital cities around the country on Wednesday night (31 July).

In an AWARD School first this year, the course expanded beyond major cities to include students from the Northern Territory, and regional and rural Victoria. And in another first, AWARD launched a new campaign around the theme “Only Ideas Wanted’, aimed at increasing diversity of applicants to the 2019 AWARD School program, and improving accessibility to the advertising industry as a career option for everyone.

The campaign and course expansion were a major success, triggering an overwhelming response to the call for applications from the country’s best and brightest undiscovered creative talent. A total of 212 applicants were successful, an 11 per cent increase compared with 2018.

Gold Pencils for state top students were awarded to: Angel McMullan (NSW); Hannah Lawson (VIC); Annastasia Albouze (QLD); Justin Borromei (WA); and Alysha Menzel (SA/NT).

The five state winners are now in the running to be named National Top Student and will have their books reviewed by an international super jury. The finalists will be flown to Sydney for the national winner announcement on August 8.

Chair of AWARD and M&C Saatchi Chief Creative Officer Cam Blackley congratulated the winners and praised all this year’s graduates for their hard work and commitment throughout the challenging but ultimately rewarding 12-week program.

Blackley also thanked this year’s seven school heads, more than 50 lecturers, over 90 tutors, and in excess of 80 judges nationally, whose combined efforts make AWARD School not just possible but so hugely successful.




Top Student


Angel McMullan
Roy Leibowitz, Chris Wilson (Innocean Worldwide Australia)
Josie Fox, Harry Stanford, Nick Plomp (Special Group)
VIC Hannah Lawson
John Pantzopoulos, Stephen Sheldon (CHE Proximity Melbourne)
Bec Griffiths, Rebecca Morriss (DDB Group Melbourne)
QLD Annastasia Albouze
Amee Wilson, Shaun Conroy, Christie Luxton (Clemenger BBDO)
James Burchill, Bec McCall, Rhys Venning (RUMBLE)
Michael Kennedy (Edison Agency) Chelsea Parks, Guido Pecego (VMLY&R)
Lindsay Thompson, Simon Budzefski, Tim Kelly, Jessamy Ross (GrowthOps)
WA Justin Borromei
Dean Hunt (The Brand Agency), Adam Barker (Gatecrasher)
Mike Edmonds (Meerkats), Mitch Mitchell (Southern Cross Austereo)
Dustin de Souza, Wilora Keeley (Wunderman Thompson)
SA/NT Alysha Menzel
Dave Lawson (Crafty Design) Troy O’Brien (Welbourn O’Brien)
Becq Hinton, Johnny Velis (The Rowdy Group)
Jason Hollamby (The Sideways Theory) Peter Syndicas (Freelance)
David Ormston, Kent O’Halloran, Corey Swaffer (KWP! Advertising)
Sam John, Charlotte Clarke (NATION Creative)

NSW AWARD School Heads Karen Ferry, Creative Director (freelance), and Josie Burns, Creative Director at Host/Havas, said the enthusiasm from tutors and the engagement from students around the country this year had been “phenomenal”.

“An industry meeting its future is a pretty amazing thing to see. Huge congratulations to each and every student for conquering a notoriously difficult course,” Burns said.

Victoria AWARD School Head and Cummins&Partners Creative Director Sarah McGregor said that judges were looking for “fresh ideas that resonated, created with relevance to the environment in which they were appearing”.

“In our multi-channel world, this last point is particularly important and is a skill we emphasise in the course,” McGregor added.

Queensland AWARD School Head and McCann QLD ECD Benjamin Davis thanked all the lecturers and tutors who gave their precious time despite the demands of business and family, describing them as “dead-set legends”.

“Our 2019 student body was focussed and passionate and the ensuing folios generated great conversation and debate in the judging room!” Davis said.

West Australian School Head and Meerkats Creative Director Rikki Burns said that although there were certainly “amazing pieces” in the top-rated folios, “the judges commented there were many stand-out ideas across the board, a few of which they could imagine doing well at international award shows”.

South Australia AWARD School Head and NATION Creative Creative Director, Nick Brz said it was inspiring to see the students tackle AWARD School with “enthusiasm and effort”.

“The most impressive thing, though, are the ideas."

Second place was awarded to: Callum Foot (NSW); Michelle See-Tho (VIC); Henry Coughlin (QLD); Ellen Treharne (WA); and Loren Jolly (SA/NT)

Third place was awarded in four states to: Donna Kalish (NSW); Leighton Howindt (VIC); Kimberley Bridle (QLD); and Simon Mullins (WA).

The state winners of Brief 5 (Mobile) were also announced on Wednesday night. This is the Whitelion/Facebook live brief.

The Top Tutor Agencies in 2019 who tutored the NSW and VIC Top Student were also acknowledged with ‘Gold Sharpener’ awards during the evening’s celebrations.

The 2019 AWARD School National Winner will be announced in Sydney on August 8 at Facebook Australia HQ. This year’s state winners will be flown to Sydney courtesy of Facebook for the national announcement, and will also attend an exclusive workshop and dinner.

AWARD and The Communications Council would like to thank Clerehan Pty Ltd founder and principal, and AWARD Committee member Esther Clerehan for providing this year’s national prize, the winner of which will fly to Las Vegas to attend the 2019 London International Awards Creative LIAisons.


2019 AWARD School State Top Students 


Top Students

  1. Angel McMullan - Gold Pencil
  2. Callum Foot
  3. Donna Kalish

Top 10 (in alphabetical order)

  • Daniel Craig
  • Laura Grimshaw
  • Lawrence Holland
  • Seamus McAlary
  • Samuel Raftl
  • Jessica Sweeney
  • Anthony Todorovitch

Brief 5 (Mobile) Winner:

  • Laura Grimshaw



Top Students

  1. Hannah Lawson - Gold Pencil
  2. Michelle See-Tho
  3. Leighton Howindt

Top 10 (in alphabetical order)

  • John Barrett
  • Angus Benger
  • Nicola Berto
  • Matt Gardener
  • Tania Kyriakou
  • Sarah Skotnicki
  • Sarah Stahle

Brief 5 (Mobile) Winner

  • Leighton Howindt



Top Students

  1. Annastasia Albouze - Gold Pencil
  2. Henry Coughlin
  3. Kimberley Bridle

Brief 5 (Mobile) Winner

  • Amelia Barker



Top Students

  1. Justin Borromei - Gold Pencil
  2. Ellen Treharne
  3. Simon Mullins

Brief 5 (Mobile) Winner

  • Simon Mullins



Top Student

  1. Alysha Menzel - Gold Pencil
  2. Loren Jolly

Brief 5 (Mobile) Winner

  • Susanna Haefner


Top Tutor Agencies - Gold Sharpeners


  • Roy Leibowitz (Innocean Worldwide Australia)
  • Chris Wilson (Innocean Worldwide Australia)
  • Josie Fox (Special Group)
  • Harry Stanford (Special Group)
  • Nick Plomp (Special Group)


  • John Pantzopoulos (CHE Proximity Melbourne)
  • Steve Sheldon (CHE Proximity Melbourne)
  • Bec Griffiths (DDB Group Melbourne)
  • Rebecca Morriss (DDB Group Melbourne)