THEY say it takes a village to raise a child and that rang true at the 2019 Hastings Education Fund (HEF) grants presentation where 29 young students will now have the opportunity to make their dreams come true thanks to our generous community.
In its eighth year, HEF has granted more than $476,700 in non-cash support to more than 219 secondary school leavers in the Hastings who need a helping hand to pursue further study.
The support comes by way of textbooks, financial assistance for living away from home to tools of the trade.
Funding comes direct from the generous pockets of community and business donors who offer sponsorship packages between $1000 and $10,000.
The recipients were chosen after a rigorous interview process, narrowed down from a pool of 76 applicants.
"It's an amazing contribution that this fund has made to help students achieve their goals," HEF patron Jim O'Brien said.
"We encourage young school leavers in the Hastings to have dreams and set high goals for their future careers and life.
"We encourage them to believe in themselves. And we demonstrate our belief in them by giving them support to achieve those goals and dreams."
The recipients of Hastings Education Fund grants are: Corey Baker, Kirstan Bird, Liam Birrer, Ty Bonney, Joshua Brennan, Darcy Bull, Alisha Cooper, Kiarna Cordell, Alyssa Deutscher, Tahlee Dose, Tayla Dures, Tahli Enfield, Callum Frewin, Kalisha Glover, Jamie Henry, Reece Jeffries, Angela Lee, Lily Maruszak, Tiana Moore, Kyden Power-O'Toole, Jack Ryan, Jade Smith, Molly Styles, Alicia Svarc, Lani Swinnerton, Sophie Vanderveer, Toby Watson, Jayde Willingham and Mia Windred.
The students expect to pursue further study in areas from bioinfomatics to law, creative intelligence, medicine, rural science and education.
There were several special awards presented this year including the Helen Glen Memorial Awards for Studies in Music. This went to Jade Smith of Camden Haven High School who plans to study a Bachelor of Music (Music Theatre) at the Australian Institute of Music.
The Master Builder's Association Award, presented by Ed Coleman, was awarded to Joshua Brennan who will study his Cert III in Engineering (Metal) at TAFE.
Two new scholarships were presented for continuing education and awarded to past recipients of HEF grants.
The Kay and John Burman scholarship of $5000 was awarded to Dana Golding who will continue her nursing degree studies.
"We first sponsored HEF in 2017 and we have been so impressed with the quality of grant recipients," the Burmans said.
The Lewis Land Group scholarship, presented by Matthew McCarron, was awarded to former St Josephs Regional College student Dylan Mason, who is completing his Bachelor of Science-Bachelor of Advanced Studies at the University of Sydney in partnership with Taronga Wildlife Conservation.
"I'm stoked about it. It will definitely help me finish my studies, help pay for the cost of living in the city, equipment and textbooks," Dylan said.
"It's really hectic here, I've come from a small rural community and I've been living in a building housing as many people as my hometown.
"This scholarship will alleviate a lot of pressure off not just myself but my mum who's looking after me and my two younger brothers. It will set me up to hopefully make a difference to my mum and my community."
Gold sponsor, Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams, said it is an enormous honour for everyone who supports HEF and making the dreams of young people in our community come true.
"We are a unique community. It is extremely special, not only by what we've seen over the last few weeks during the fires, but time and time again," Mrs Williams said.
"We are excited these young people have dreamed big, and dreamed big for their future."
The presentation was hosted by Newman Senior Technical College.