Students at the Strelley Community School could be proudly wearing school shirts next year based on the award-winning design of their classmates.

And that is not the only honour for young artists Willy Kickett and Tinarra Thomas.

The pair entered an art competition among the remote community schools of Nullagine, Marble Bar, Warralong, Strelley, and Yandeyarra arranged by the Roy Hill Community Foundation and Traditional Owner businesses Brindabella Resources, North Waste Alliance, and Kingsmill Multiplant.

The response to the competition was overwhelming, with more than 100 students entering their most creative pieces including paintings, sculptures, dioramas, and even an original song. It was a tough feat to select only a few winners from the impressive entries.

Willy and Tinarra’s designs were so striking that the Foundation requested permission to use the art for this year’s NAIDOC shirt and a Roy Hill special projects shirt.

The interest generated from the shirts for the Foundation was unprecedented, with more than 200 sold from the first pre-order.

On NAIDOC week, Roy Hill’s Superintendent of Community Development Deb Shaw visited Willy and Tinarra to present them with a large, framed copy of their artwork and showed them their designs on the NAIDOC shirts.

Deb saw firsthand how much the artwork meant, not only to the talented young artists, but the wider school community.

She witnessed students taking turns to carry the paintings that would have a special place at the school.

While telling Deb the story of the paintings, Willy and Tinarra’s big smiles showed how proud they were of their heritage and traditions.

The pair looked forward to sharing their achievements with aunties, grannies and family who are also respected artists within their community.

Willy and Tinarra will receive complimentary shirts for their family and School Principal Jo Webb, who suggested the shirts would be the perfect school uniform for 2021.

All the winners of the art competition had the choice of a bike, or a JB HiFi, Jim Kid, or BCF voucher.

The sales of the 2020 NAIDOC shirt go toward the Roy Hill Community Foundation which gives back to the wider Pilbara community through health, arts and education projects.

Roy Hill is continuing to deliver packages containing essentials to isolated Indigenous communities, a service it started during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community Development Manager Jeanette Hasleby said the feedback had been positive from community members, police, and nurses.

“Delivery of more than 2000 care packs will continue over the next few months, something which has been really appreciated by the community,” Jeanette said.