Past Award Finalists and Recipients
Young Australian of the Year
Young Australian of the Year 2015
The fifth generation in her family to be born deaf, Drisana Levitzke-Gray, is dedicated to helping other deaf people and advocating their human rights. Born into a family with deaf parents, a deaf brother and a deaf extended family, Drisana cherishes her first language, Auslan. She promotes the deaf community as one without borders and one of rich language, culture, history and traditions. As the only Australian selected to attend the Frontrunners international deaf youth leadership course in 2012 and 2013, Drisana worked with communities in Europe and Samoa to expand leadership capacity and human rights understanding of deaf youth. In 2014, Drisana became the first deaf Auslan user to fulfil her civic duty as a juror. Drisana is the embodiment of the concept of ‘deaf gain’, not ‘hearing loss’, inspiring the deaf community, encouraging others to accept diversity and promoting a positive image of deafness which says loudly and proudly: “it is OK to be deaf”.