Community inspired by local heroes at ‘Inspire U: Stories from the Valley’ premiere

Community inspired by local heroes at ‘Inspire U: Stories from the Valley’ premiere

Nambucca Heads High School Captain Will McKinney hosting the film premiere. Photo: Becoming U.


ON March 18, over 300 young people, families and Nambucca Valley community members enjoyed the premiere screening of the feature documentary, ‘Inspire U: Stories from the Valley’.

Held at Nambucca Heads High School, the free film premiere event gave attendees a special program of inspiring stories of local people who overcame challenges to achieve success in different and meaningful ways.

The idea for the documentary came from local young people themselves who wanted to see the achievements of people like them, understand their journeys to triumph, and get advice on facing hurdles and setbacks.

Inspire U: Stories from the Valley is part of Becoming U, a unique initiative whose mission is to empower young people to unleash their potential and use it to thrive by working side-by-side with young people, rather than for them.

The documentary is now available to watch online at

Becoming U is proudly supported by Uniting NSW.ACT and has formed a wonderful partnership with Nambucca Heads High staff and students who collaborated and worked hard to make the event special.

School Captain Will McKinney hosted the film screening and Kyiesha Cohen-Siemsen delivered the Welcome to Country before Cass Wilson, Becoming U’s Community Impact Coordinator, and Deputy Principal Jo Marshall introduced the film.

Cass said, “It’s important to highlight and celebrate our young people and those from Nambucca Valley who have made a difference.

“Young people wanted to see more real people doing real things to feel more hopeful and have more self-belief.”

Jo added, “We’re really grateful and fortunate to have this partnership.

“If Becoming U is making a difference, one kid at a time, that’s really important.”

Kyiesha is featured in the story alongside Kiarra, Kythera and Luwarna Cohen-Siemsen.

Others who share their stories are Chris Edwards, Jacinta Shackleton, Oliver Gadbsy, Caitlin Hockey, Indi Lievas, Andrew and Maia Holmes, Leah Benson, and Jane Mottley.

Ex-Nambucca Heads High student Courtney Jarrett said, “Hearing everyone’s life experience was amazing!

“Especially hearing from Chris, I never knew half the things he talked about and I’ve known him practically my whole life.

“Also, the girls at the end, hearing them talk about Aunty Valla made me tear up because I fully understand where they’re coming from.”

Current student Lily, part of the school’s Youth Force team and an event volunteer said, “I am so pleased I was able to be a part of such a spectacular evening.

“It was awesome to meet so many people and bring the community together.”

At the event, everyone enjoyed a free meal from local food trucks and great music from Nambucca Heads High school band playing live for the first time in two years, and captured memories at the photo booth.

Member for Oxley Melinda Pavey attended and mingled with Nambucca Heads High Principal Dot Panaretos and the crowd.

You can learn more and watch the documentary online at and follow Becoming U on social media to get the latest news and hear about upcoming events.


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