15 September 2014
Students of The McDonald College at North Strathfield have been excelling themselves at Sydney Eisteddfod this year. In July, Alex Chorley won five gold medals in speech, drama and classical singing events. Last month, Kayla Maree Tarantolo won the $18,000 Sydney Eisteddfod McDonald’s Ballet Scholarship and last week, 14-year-old Gemma Nha won the Sydney Eisteddfod Junior Singer of the Year title singing Hurt by Christina Aguilera and Michael Bublé’s Feeling Good.
Born in South Korea, Gemma came to Australia as an infant. She studied dance from an early age, but had no particular interest in the arts until a teacher noticed her powerful voice and suggested she took up singing.
In 2010, while holidaying with her mother in the United States, Gemma attended a Summer School at the Lee Strasberg Film & Theatre Institute in New York. She loved every moment of the course, and when it finished, the directors of the school offered her a scholarship. She accepted this in 2011, but after six months, she developed health problems and reluctantly returned to Australia.
Back home, she completed Year 6 at Homebush Public School. Now studying at the McDonald College on a scholarship, Gemma recently made it through to the sing-offs of the television talent quest Voice Kids.
Jennie Lees, PhD
Media Liaison & Public Information