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  • SBS National Language comp winners Anjali D'Cunha, Percy Page, Celina Bugara and Eirini Vergaki & judges Mandi Wicks, Lucy Zelic, Isaiah Firebrace & Andy Trieu (SBS)Source: SBS
Students nationwide, aged 4 to 18 years, entered the SBS National Languages Competition which aims to encourage and celebrate a love of learning languages in Australia. SBS today announced four national winners across four age categories.
SBS Radio

30 Oct 2017 - 10:12 AM  UPDATED 30 Oct 2017 - 5:20 PM

To celebrate and inspire the love of learning languages SBS asked all school aged students learning a language other than English, ‘What does learning a language mean to you?’.

Finalists were selected from across the country and we can now announce the winners from each age category selected by the our prestigious judging panel which includes: Director of Audio and Language Content, Mandi Wicks, SBS PopAsia presenter Andy Trieu, SBS Football Presenter Lucy Zelic and Australian singer Isaiah.

All four winners were flown to the SBS National Languages Competition Awards Ceremony in Sydney to accept their award and prize on Monday 30th October, 2017, attended by the Minister for Education, Senator Simon Birmingham. 

SBS Winners

Junior Category 4-7: Percy Page - Mandarin 

Junior Category 8-12:  Eirini Vergaki - Greek

Secondary Primary Category 13-15: Anjali D'Cunha - Swedish 


Senior Category 16-18: Celina Bugara - Polish

...After the awards ceremony the four lucky winners got a tour of the SBS Sydney studios:


SBS Judging Panel

Mandi Wicks, Director of Audio and Language Content at SBS

Category A: Junior Primary (Aged 4 – 7)

Mandi Wicks is the Director of Audio and Language Content, SBS Radio, and has been with SBS for nearly six years. SBS Radio includes eight radio networks – five focusing on Australian news and information in language and three music networks – SBS PopAsia, SBS PopDesi and SBS Chill.

Mandi has more than 25 years’ experience in the media industry, working at four of Australia’s leading networks (SBS, Macquarie, Southern Cross Austereo and Nova Entertainment). She worked as a journalist for 10 years before moving into senior management roles.

SBS is dedicated to connecting communities through multilingual conversations across all platforms and devices, in order to inspire social cohesion in Australia.

Lucy Zelic

Category B: Primary (Aged 8 – 12)

A passionate football journalist and lifelong sports fan, Lucy Zelic has been a key member of SBS’s football coverage team since 2013.

Lucy currently hosts SBS’s flagship football news program The World Game (Mondays, 11pm),appears as a sports presenter on SBS World News, writes for The World Game online and presents SBS’s coverage of local and international football including the Premier League, the UEFA Champions League, and more.

In 2014, Lucy hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup matches from the Sydney studios. The 2014 FIFA World Cup was Lucy’s first World Cup for SBS. In 2015 she hosted the Australian matches and the finals for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.


Andy Trieu

Category C: Junior High School (Aged 13 – 15)

Three-time Australian Champion Martial Artist Andy Trieu expanded his repertoire from competing in tournaments to performing in roles across stage and screen. Andy is currently hosting on TV and radio show "SBS PopAsia", a series regular on internationally sold game-show Kitchen Whiz as the Kitchen Ninja (Ch9), and Australia's first Kung Fu TV show Maximum Choppage (NBC Universal).

 Andy was also a runner up for the national search for hosts on ABC3 and participated in CLEO's Top 50 Bachelors as a finalist. Outside of performing he holds a double degree in International Relations and Business (Australian National University) and was a former Science Communicator.



Category D: Senior High School (Aged 16 – 18)

With a population of just over 5000 people, Moama is hardly the kind of place you expect to find a superstar… well, no one told Isaiah that.

In the past two years, the talented teen has transformed from a small town singer with big dreams, to one of Australia’s most successful artists. Along the way he’s won TheX Factor, released a debut single that charted all over the world, notched up over 120 million international streams, supported the incredible Jessica Mauboy on her Australian tour and represented Australia at the Eurovision Song Contest 2017, finishing in the top 10, viewed by over 250 Million People.  All that at just 17 years of age.

SBS National Languages Competition: celebrating language learning
Australia is one of the most linguistically diverse nations in the world but that doesn’t mean more of us are speaking languages other than English. An Australian Literary Review paper found language learning is dropping. In the 1960s 40 per cent of Year 12 students studied a second language compared to 12 per cent in 2007. SBS and Community Languages Australia have created a competition to encourage more young Australians to learn another language.