Gunnedah shire is sending 28 young local people off on their education adventure with the support of a Gunnedah Community Scholarship.

Gunnedah shire mayor Jamie Chaffey was proud to present scholarships to one of the largest numbers of students in the Gunnedah Community Scholarship Fund’s 21-year history.

“This is one of council’s highlights of the year, making tertiary education just a little bit more accessible to our young people,” Cr Chaffey said.

“This is a big time in their lives and, in partnership with the local community, the Gunnedah Community Scholarship Fund offers financial assistance that eases the way and shows the recipients their hometown supports their further learning.

“More than 20 years ago, former Gunnedah shire mayor Gae Swain OAM founded this fund to encourage young people to pursue further education – and to possibly return home with a whole new set of valuable skills.

“In that time, we have seen hundreds of people head off to study in a huge range of areas – from medicine to occupational therapy, and engineering to teaching. It has made a difference to many young people, and many families.”

Community and business sponsors – including Whitehaven Coal, Santos, Forsyths Accounting and Financial Services, Club Gunnedah, Rotary Club of Gunnedah West and Gunnedah Rotary Club – partnered with Gunnedah Shire Council to award 28 scholarships. Many of these sponsors invest in our community’s future by contributing financially each and every year.

The presentation took place at the Civic Theatre earlier this month, with guest speaker, teacher and past Scholarship Fund recipient Oliver Neader.

Scholarship founder, Gae Swain and 2024 guest speaker Oliver Neader.

Paul Cabanas received $1000 from the Gunnedah Community Scholarship to assist in his studies at the University of Newcastle this year.

“I am really grateful for the scholarship, and I hope it brings me really good things and I hope I can give back to the community one day,” he said.

The former St Mary’s College student plans to use the money on educational resources to help with his studies towards a Bachelor of Software Engineering.

“I am really going into it and seeing what I can do with it,” he said. Paul is not sure what job he will pursue following his degree but believes with the growing technology landscape there will be endless opportunities for him on the other side. “I was [interested in engineering] in the past … I am really interested in mathematics as well. So, I will see what I can do with it.”

He is ready to take on an engineering degree and while there was always interest in the topic, up until last year he had a different path in mind. “It was quite a quick decision that happened earlier this year. I was initially going to pursue music,” he said.

“An early entry offer was given to me last year and because it was engineering, it was a no-brainer for me to accept it.” He will not completely turn away from his musical roots while in Newcastle, as he intends on tutoring music while at university.

Fellow scholarship recipient Lewis Donaldson, who will study a Bachelor of Communication at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, said it was work experience at the Gunnedah Times in 2021 that spurred his pursuit of journalism career.

“I loved it … wrote a few articles for the paper, it was very rewarding to see it printed on Thursday in the paper,” Lewis said.

At this stage the former St Mary’s College student is leaning toward the print industry but will wait to see where his interests lead at university before committing to one area.

“Whether it’s TV, radio or print, I’ll figure it out in the next couple of years,” he said. It has been a big year of achievements for Lewis already this year after he was named the 2024 Gunnedah Young Citizen of the Year.

Read more about Lewis here: Just rewards for Young Citizen Lewis Donaldson – Gunnedah Times

• Hollie Bennett, Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Honours) (Radiation Therapy), University of Newcastle.

• Paul Cabanas, Bachelor of Software Engineering, University of Newcastle.

• Maddison Coombs, Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology, University of New England.

• Lewis Donaldson, Bachelor of Communication, Charles Sturt University.

• Alice Donnelly, Diploma in Science including Bachelor of Psychological Science (Advanced), University of Newcastle.

• Emma Doyle, Bachelor of Criminology/Bachelor of Laws (Honours), University of Newcastle.

• Harry Fairfull, Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (Honours), University of Southern Queensland.

• Lucy Gainsford, Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science, University of New England.

• Josie Gallagher, Bachelor of Education K-12, Charles Sturt University.

• Maya Gallagher, Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours), University of Newcastle.

• Lara Hewitt, Bachelor of Nursing, University of Canberra.

• Molly Houguet, Bachelor of Education (Primary), University of Newcastle.

• Callie Jeffrey, Bachelor of Primary Education, University of Newcastle.

• Henry Johns, Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle.

• Goran Kelly, Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Southern Queensland.

• Mackenzie Leader, Bachelor of Education (Secondary), University of Newcastle.

• Annalise Martin, Bachelor of Laws, University of New England.

• Lillian McNamara, Bachelor of Primary Education, University of Wollongong.

• Lucy Moore, Bachelor of Accounting, Charles Sturt University.

• Chloe Newman, Bachelor of Educational Studies and Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary), Swinburne University of Technology.

• Aimee Randall, Bachelor of Nursing, University of Newcastle.

• Samantha Randall, Bachelor of Nursing, University of New England.

• Ashlyn Summers, Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science (Diagnostic), Charles Sturt University.

• Chloe Sumpter, Bachelor of Nursing, University of Wollongong.

• Imogen Taylor, Bachelor of Secondary Education, University of Notre Dame.

• Millie Taylor, Bachelor of Exercise Science/Master of Physiotherapy and Exercise Physiology, University of New South Wales.

• Yasmin Thomas, Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics (Honours), University of Newcastle.

• Leisel Torrens, Bachelor of Agriculture, University of New England.

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