Port Lincoln High School student Madonna Crossman has won a Playford Trust and TAFE SA award for her studies and work with aquaculture.
Madonna has just finished Year 11 at the school and is currently studying a Diploma of Aquaculture through TAFE, after previously completing two Certificate II's in Aquaculture and Maritime Operations and a short course in aquaculture production skills.
"I guess I've just always had a love for the water," she said.
After growing up around her family's oyster farm in Smoky Bay, she said she thought it would be a good idea to get some qualifications.
She is the only student completing her full diploma of aquaculture, having completed part of it through a year 12 subject and will complete the remainder through TAFE next year.
"My lecturer Brent (Smith) told me about the award and said it would be a good opportunity," she said.
Madonna was one of eight students to win the Playford Trust/TAFE SA award, announced at an awards night at the Urrbrae TAFE SA campus on November 28.
"It's exciting, it's given me the confidence to be able to go further in my studies," she said.
She was awarded $2,000 towards her future studies in her chosen field.
She hopes to study a Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology and Aquaculture) and education at Flinders University.
She also wants to incorporate aquaculture as much as possible into her studies, with plans to focus on algae growth and the reproduction of ocean plants and their positive effect on the ocean as part of her year 12 Research Project.
Madonna's family has been involved in the oyster business in Smoky Bay for many years and she said she hopes to one day start her own hatchery as she is already responsible for her own oysters on the family farm.
"I find everything about the ocean fascinating, and I thought I may as well continue with the oysters and become self sufficient and start my own," she said.
She said she wants to contribute to the long-term sustainability of the industry and employ young people from West Coast communities.
Mother Alana Crossman said her daughter was a "quiet achiever" and said she had received great support from her family, school teachers and lecturers.
"Madonna said Brent has been a great support to her throughout her studies in 2018 and 2019 and has supported his students with night classes," she said.