In today’s paper, you’ll find the last of our annual series of stories on Suffolk’s valedictorians.

Each year, we feature these five bright young people in a series. We tell of their hard academic work in high school, what they enjoyed as far as extracurricular activities, and their hopes and dreams and aspirations for the future.

It’s always an inspiring series, and this year’s series — featuring King’s Fork High School valedictorian Gabe Jackson, Lakeland High School valedictorian Joshua Aldridge, Nansemond River High School valedictorian Alyssa Cadua, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy valedictorian Arya Barot and Suffolk Christian Academy valedictorian MaryDouglas Johnson — has been no less inspiring.

These young people have worked hard, and we are so proud of all they have accomplished and cannot wait to see what is in their future.

The truth is, though, that they are simply the cream of the crop. Suffolk’s class of 2021 features hundreds upon hundreds of amazing students who have bright futures ahead of them.

The path of the future for each of these graduates is as individual as they are. But whatever their plans for immediately after high school — whether it’s a four-year college, a two-year college, military service, trade school, charity work, travel, family time or straight into employment — we know that these young people are going to go out and change the world with what they have learned at the five exemplary high schools in Suffolk, what they have been taught by their parents and other family members, and how they have matured and grown and developed their talents, skills and emotional intelligence over the years.

We wish much success to our valedictorians and to all of the class of 2021.

Job seekers offered $1,000 to travel north and harvest ripening melon crop – with more cash bonuses for working 30-hour weeks

  • Coronavirus travel restrictions leaves growers short of labourers to pick fruit
  • More than 75,000 tonnes of melon crop supply needs to be harvested now 
  • Fruit pickers will be paid $1000 with $200 bonus for working a 30 hour week
  • Workers with licences to operate trucks and forklifts are also in high demand 

The Northern Territory is offering thousands of dollars to fruit pickers who travel to the Top End and help harvest the ripening melon crop.

Coronavirus travel restrictions and closed borders have stopped foreign backpackers travelling to Australia, leaving growers desperately short of labourers to pick their fruit.

The NT government wants Australian workers to fill the shortfall and help harvest the 75,000-tonne melon crop, which includes seeded and seedless watermelons and rockmelons.

The Northern Territory government will pay thousands of dollars to fruit pickers who travel to the Top End and help harvest the ripening melon crop

The $70 million per year NT industry is critical to national melon supply and allows shoppers to buy the fruit all year round.

The NT government is offering $1000 per worker for up to 200 workers to pick the fruit, along with $480,000 for bonuses to help businesses retain them.

A bonus of $200 per week will be available for people that work a minimum of 30 hours per week, for at least five weeks between April 12 and July 12.

‘We produce the best melons in Australia and we have to get them off our farms into grocery shops and supermarkets across Australia,’ Minister for Agribusiness Nicole Manison said on Thursday.

‘Our message is simple, come to the Territory to work in a great place, have a great experience, and pick our melons.’

The jobs on offer include picking, packing, sorting and logistics roles.

Growers in the NT are in desperate need of labourers to help harvest more than 75,000 tonnes of ripened melon crop

Growers in the NT are in desperate need of labourers to help harvest more than 75,000 tonnes of ripened melon crop

Workers with licenses to operate forklifts, trucks and production machinery will be in hot demand.

Ms Manison said the NT’s seasonal and overseas workforce has fallen by 73 per cent over the past year.

The NT Farmers Association attempted to arrange workers to come from Timor Leste to help harvest the melon crop, but COVID-19 stopped that.

The association has previously brought two groups of South Pacific fruit pickers to the Territory to help harvest the mango crop in September and October.

About 320 labourers from Vanuatu helped pick about 33,000 tonnes of the fruit, worth more than $100 million.