It’s the kind of community support that can set a student on the path to realising their potential. For 16 years, Southern Cross University and its donor partners have extended a helping hand of financial support for students through the Rising Stars Scholarship program.
The students’ stories are both moving and inspirational, like that of Jacinta Greenup who was hooked on surfing the moment she rode her first wave as a kid near her Cabarita Beach home.
She pursued her passion and was good enough to compete in the World Qualifying Series, alongside her Year 12 studies, in 2015. At that point Jacinta made the decision to complete the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy at Southern Cross University before she dives back into the world of surfing fulltime.
With an ongoing scholarship from Twin Towns Services Club awarded for sporting and academic excellence as well as community involvement, paired with being selected for the University’s Elite Student Athlete Program, Jacinta is bringing both her dreams to life.
Jacinta is studying at the University’s Gold Coast campus overlooking North Kirra Beach and often heads out for a surf before or after class. She made the podium at UniSport Australia’s national surfing championships last year, contributing to Southern Cross University’s proud title as National University Women’s champions and overall university champions for surfing.
The 20-year-old has competed in the same competition league as big name surfers Steph Gilmore, Tyler Wright and Coco Ho, and plans to re-enter the world of surfing when she completes her degree next year. Jacinta will be the first in her family to complete tertiary study.
“I am so grateful for how much Twin Towns has helped me out,” said Jacinta, who was first awarded the scholarship after completing Year 12 at Kingscliff High School.
“I’ve been able to use the money to pay for accommodation to complete my Occupational Therapy professional placements this year and also to travel and compete in surfing competitions in America including the Supergirl Pro during the first two years of my degree.
“It’s been easy to focus on uni without the pressure of also having a part-time job while training and competing and I’ve been able to consistently achieve good grades in the degree that I love studying. I want to get my degree first and then travel to pursue my surfing.”
Jacinta has previously made the finals in the NSW surfing state titles, competed at Australian National Titles and represented Australia in USA World Qualifying series events. She teaches surf lessons and mentoring, and also volunteers for the surfing for the disabled program, hoping to one day use her Occupational Therapy training in paediatrics to support children who struggle with daily life after injury, illness or with disability.
Twin Town Services Club Deputy Chair and Chair of Donations Brian Brown said the Club had proudly been supporting the Southern Cross University Rising Stars Program since 2010.
“We have been so impressed with the young people that we have been able to meet and support including Jacinta, and we know that in some way they will go in to the community and make a difference through the work they do in their future career,” he said.
Bachelor of Social Welfare student Brayden Maynard will also receive a Twin Towns Services Club Scholarship, while Bachelor of Digital Business student Matteo Caridi and Business/Laws student Sarah Ashley will receive the Twin Towns Services Community Foundation Scholarship.
Southern Cross University Pro Vice Chancellor of Engagement Ben Roche said the 2018 round of Rising Stars Scholarships supports 66 new and continuing students across the University’s campuses.
“Rising Stars Scholarships continue to provide transformational opportunities for our students which is made possible by the generosity and commitment of our donor community,” Mr Roche said.
“It is our core values which unite us around our vision, which is anchored in the need to provide students with the opportunity to achieve their potential. As a family with a shared vision for change, we can truly make a difference, just like Jacinta, one student at a time.”
For more information or to become a supporter of the Rising Stars Scholarships program, visit scu.edu.au/risingstars
Photo: OT student Jacinta Greenup at Southern Cross University Gold Coast campusMedia contact: Jessica Nelson 0417288794 or firstname.lastname@example.org