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Last modified: 29 Jul 2020 10:36am

Close up of teenage girl with brown hair and glasses playing the violinScholarships from the Selwyn District Council are helping Selwyn young people thrive beyond school.

The Council awarded six tertiary education scholarships to year 12 and 13 students at Darfield High School, Ellesmere College and Lincoln High School in 2019, for a broad range of tertiary education and training. This year scholarships will also be offered to students at Rolleston College for the first time.

The scholarships were expanded last year to encourage diversity, reach and access.

Students are encouraged to apply if they have achieved academic, sporting, cultural, or art successes at school, in clubs, or organisations. Young people who have overcome barriers or hardships are also encouraged to apply.

Mekaela Fleener, from Ellesmere College, received the scholarship to purchase a University-level violin for her music studies at Canterbury.

“I think the scholarship is a really neat opportunity, especially for those who aren’t good at getting high marks who might have merit in other places.”

Molly Barker, from Lincoln High School, used her scholarship to purchase seven health science textbooks for her studies at Otago University.

“I think it’s really great to have a scholarship from outside of your school. The external party can view candidates more equally.”

Mayor Sam Broughton says the scholarship have a wider impact than just helping individuals.

“The scholarships are a way to support them through the expenses of their first years of study. There are many ambitious young people in Selwyn focussed on furthering their education to in turn contribute to their families and community.”

Councillor Jenny Gallagher has been involved with the scholarships for over five years.

“I have had the opportunity to meet some terrific young people from many different walks of life, each of them setting out on different pathways.

“Often young people from smaller districts or towns don’t have the same sort of access to scholarships so I am pleased the Council has made sure Selwyn youth have similar opportunities to those in bigger metropolitan areas.”

Councillor Shane Epiha was on the selection panel and thought every individual was a worthy candidate.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for our rangatahi future leaders – some have amazing stories of perseverance overcoming challenging situations.”