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Scholarships help students reach for the Stars to realise their dreams


Sharlene King
15 March 2013
Early childhood education student Alanna Weis is on track to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged pre-schoolers.

The 18-year-old Casino High graduate was awarded the inaugural Lord’s Taverners (Northern NSW) University Scholarship at the Southern Cross University Rising Stars Scholarship ceremony at the Lismore campus today (March 15).

Alanna said it was while doing year 10 work experience at Casino’s Jumbunna Community Preschool and Early Intervention Centre that her eyes were opened to how many children needed specialist care.

“These were incredible four- and five-year-olds, despite having disabilities like blindness, autism or epilepsy. I loved them all. It’s a challenge, but I like a challenge.

“I believe all children deserve equal opportunities to access early education to lay good foundations for their learning.”

Alanna said she was excited and relieved to secure the Lord’s Taverners Scholarship.

“I felt massive pressure lift off my shoulders. It’s nice to know I’ve got that financial help. My dad is a labourer supporting my mum and my two sisters and me on a single wage, so it can be tough.”

The Lord's Taverners (Northern NSW) University Scholarship is awarded to a Northern Rivers student starting any Bachelor degree in the School of Education or School of Health and Human Sciences who has experienced disadvantage firsthand or can demonstrate a commitment to working with young people who do.

Stan Gilchrist, chairman of The Lord's Taverners (Northern NSW), said his organisation was pleased to help Alanna pursue her dreams.

“Alanna fits our criteria perfectly. She is disadvantaged by her geographical location, living on a rural property 20 minutes outside of Casino and travelling an hour each way to get to University.

“More importantly, she is committed to working with disabled and disadvantaged children.”

Along with The Lord’s Taverners (Northern NSW) University Scholarship, Southern Cross University was pleased to announce the recipients of other scholarships being offered for the first time in 2013.

The Fuji Xerox Business Centre Northern Rivers Engineering Scholarship – awarded to Sam Allain, Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Civil Engineering at the Lismore campus.

Available to a full time student (high school graduate or mature age) who is a resident of regional Australia and commencing the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Civil Engineering degree at the Lismore campus.

The Malcolm Marshall Scholarship – awarded to Fiona Webb, Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education (Secondary) at the Coffs Harbour campus.

Malcolm Marshall retired from Southern Cross University in April 2012 after 28 years of service. For nearly two decades he was Executive Director of Corporate Services.

SCU Alumni Scholarship – awarded to John Lo Guidice, Master of Osteopathic Medicine at the Lismore campus.

The funds for this Scholarship have been raised through the purchase of special pavers by SCU Alumni members. The pavers are placed in the Alumni Court, located the Lismore campus, and each features the graduate’s name, degree and year of completion.

Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee said he was pleased the University’s Scholarships program continued to receive support from donors.

“The Scholarships program recognises academic achievement, community involvement and leadership. The program also ensures members of our community can access a higher education despite financial or other disadvantages.

“These scholarships would not be possible without the generosity of individuals, organisations and charities across the University’s footprint. I welcome on board our new donors and extend my gratitude to our existing donors for their ongoing support.”

More than $460,000 worth of scholarships will be handed out through the SCU Scholarships program to 151 scholarship holders. There are 55 donors to the Rising Stars Scholarship program worth more than $380,000. Most scholarships are valued at $5000 per year but they range from $500 to $12,000. The scholarships are supported by a range of partners including businesses, community groups and trusts, each of who receive a donor appreciation certificate.

There are 21 Vice Chancellor Scholarships to be awarded across the three campuses including seven new scholarships and 14 continuing. Each scholarship is worth $5000 per year for up to five years.

The 2013 Rising Stars Scholarships will be awarded at ceremonies across the three SCU campuses in the coming week, starting with Lismore on March 15, followed by Coffs Harbour (March 19) and Gold Coast (March 21).

Photo: Alanna Weis (centre) with The Lord's Taverners (Northern NSW) chairman Stan Gilchrist and Kaylene Hopf, chair of The Lord's Taverners (Northern NSW) scholarship committee.