Mckelty Searle’s plans to study at University next year have been boosted after being awarded a $2,500 scholarship from the Great Lakes Education Fund (GLEF).
GLEF Chairperson Stephen Nicholas said 11 students in the Great Lakes region were awarded scholarships this year, sharing a total of $22,000 in funding.
“The funds come directly from the local community through a Community Partnership Program and also through fundraising events that we organise throughout the year,” he said.
“The scholarships help rural students transition and supports them in their future education endeavours.”
To be eligible, students must demonstrate financial need, go to school or live within the region covered by GLEF and also show commitment to achieving their goals.
Mckelty, who recently graduated from Bulahdelah Central School, said she is hoping to study Occupational Therapy at the University of Newcastle next year.
“It is amazing to be chosen for the award as only a small group were selected,” she said.
“I will be moving out of home and renting in Newcastle so the scholarship really relieves the financial burden.”
Mckelty told News Of The Area the money will go towards buying a new laptop, the purchase of textbooks and living expenses.
Mr Nicholas said through a reciprocal scholarship arrangement, Mckelty’s award will be matched dollar for dollar by the university, doubling the amount available to support her through her studies.
The scholarship program was established in 2012 and has supported around 50 students during this time.
By Daniel SAHYOUN