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The Australasian Writers and Art Directors (AWARD) has announced this year’s AWARD School state finalists who will go into the running to win the coveted national top student of the year award.

The Australasian Writers and Art Directors (AWARD) has announced this year’s AWARD School state finalists who will go into the running to win the coveted national top student of the year award.

Shanice Love from New South Wales, Andrew McLaughlin from Victoria, Jamie Wyatt from Western Australia, Kelly Brightwell from Queensland and Rhys McMahon from South Australia took out the top gong in their respective states alongside Brittney Angus from AWARD School’s online program, with each recognised for their incredible body of creative work developed throughout the year.

They all received a coveted AWARD School Gold Pencil for their outstanding efforts as part of graduation events held across the country over the last week to recognise the industry’s brightest emerging talent.

​​This year’s state winners were drawn from a national intake of 205 students, which included four students on an Indigenous scholarship. The hugely successful online program also saw participants take part from regional Australia and New Zealand.

In going into the running to be named AWARD School’s national winning student, all the finalists’s work is being reviewed by an international super jury, with the winner announced on August 17 at The Gold Pencil Award Party - an industry event being held as part of This Way Up, AWARD’s signature creative festival this week in Sydney.

State finalists: AWARD School 2023



Top Student 



Shanice Love

Robert Bamford & Ben De Klerk, Saatchi & Saatchi, Georgie Waters & Felix Ettelson, M&C Saatchi


Andrew McLaughlin

Riana McKenzie & Zoe Perrin, Clemenger BBDO, Tiana Gibbons-Campbell & Amy Peden, Bullfrog


Jamie Wyatt

Adam Barker & Henry Billington, Gatecrasher, Paul Coghlan & Matt Nankivell Moonsail


Kelly Brightwell

Phil Vale & Guido Pecego, VMLY&R, Tim Harding & Ash Kennedy, Publicis


Rhys McMahon

Ollie Prenton, NATION Creative

Online program

Brittney Angus

Whitney Moothoo & Annie Bettis, whiteGREY, Robert Bamford, Ben De Klerk, Saatchi & Saatchi



AWARD Chair and M&C Saatchi Australia Chief Creative Officer Cam Blackley congratulated the state winners and praised all the 2023 graduates for their hard work and commitment throughout the 12-week program.


“AWARD School is three months of consistently delivering solid ideas and an outstanding portfolio of work that brings them to life. Just getting through it is a testament to each student’s creative ability and the bright future that lies ahead of them. We wish them all success in their careers,” he said.


National and NSW AWARD School Co-heads Matt Chandler and Katrina Alvarez-Jarratt said: “AWARD School delivers incredible creative talent each year and we couldn’t be prouder of the commitment this year’s state winners have shown in living up to, if not going beyond, the extremely high standards set by past students.


“We thank the AWARD School heads, tutors and mentors, speakers and judges for their dedication and time, and congratulate this year’s students, in helping to make AWARD School 2023 a success.”

AWARD School 2023: top students per state


Top students

1. Shanice Love – Gold Pencil
2. James Anthony
3. Nicholas Kelly

Top 10 (in alphabetical order)

​​Angelica Elvy
Jess Taylor
Jessica Szakacs
Kate McGregor
Kathleen Thomas
Natalie Rutkowska
Sophie Verheul


Top Students

1. Andrew McLaughlin – Gold Pencil
2. Samuel Marshman
3. Julia Mancuso

Top 10 (in alphabetical order)

Alex Tink

Isabelle Beaupré

Jenna Tomkins

Mathew Churchill

Prudence Stent

Tom Hogan

Tyler Cicerale



Top Students

1. Kelly Brightwell – Gold Pencil
2. Crystal Davis
3. Alysha Addicott



Top Students

1. Jamie Wyatt – Gold Pencil
2. Joseph Wilkie
3. Matt Armenti 


Top Students

1. Rhys McMahon – Gold Pencil
2. Althier Alianza


Top Students

1. Brittney Angus - Gold Pencil
2. Elise Williams
3. Angeles O'Brien Aguilera


Top Tutor Agencies – Gold Sharpeners


Jeremy Willmott, Paper Moose 

Pete Saladino, Paper Moose 


Riana McKenzie, Clemenger BBDO

Zoe Perrin, Clemenger BBDO

Amy Peden, Bullfrog

Tiana Gibbons-Campbell, Bullfrog