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TAFE talent recognised in Deadly Awards

FROM the bright lights of New York to the small stage at Tropical North Queensland TAFE (TNQT) - Wilma Reading Lehr has been there and performed on them all.

And now the talented woman is the proud recipient of the 2010 Deadly Award for Lifetime Achievement to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music.

Ms Reading Lehr said she was thrilled to finally add the Sydney Opera House, where the Deadly Awards were held in September, to the list of famous stages she has graced in her illustrious singing career.

Ms Reading Lehr currently works part time at TNQT as a singing teacher, using her talent to inspire students to live their dreams and develop promising musical careers.

"I am very proud to see that I have been instrumental in helping them in their career paths," Ms Reading Lehr said.

"I always teach them to believe in themselves and their talent and that there will always be someone who will give them a helping hand."

Ms Reading Lehr was born in Cairns and moved to Brisbane to establish her singing career.

She credits herself as being the first Indigenous woman on Australian television, appearing as a solo performer on Band Stand before singing in theatres and in concerts in London, Las Vegas and New York.

She was even asked to audition for a role on Broadway.

"Through my singing I have travelled the world," she said.

"Now I have come full circle and am back in Cairns again and working as a casual teacher at TAFE."

Ms Reading Lehr said winning a Deadly Award was a shining moment in her career.

"I didn't even know I was nominated.  I thought it was a joke when someone called me and said 'Aunty, we want you to come to Sydney to get your award'," she said.

Ms Reading Lehr was joined in the winner's circle by The Medics, a band who formed while they were students at TNQT.

The Medics won Band of the Year, while former student Naomi Wenitong was named the Female Artist of the Year and was recognised with an Outstanding Achievement in RnB and Hip Hop.

Acting Institute Director Donna-Maree O'Connor congratulated the award winners, complimenting their skills and brilliant careers.

"AT TNQT we pride ourselves on the quality of courses we offer and the teachers we employ," she said.

"These national awards are proof that we not only deliver the best but also employ the best in their industries.

"We couldn't be more proud of Wilma, The Medics and Naomi for their outstanding achievements."

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