Duo thrilled with scholarships
Deniliquin High School graduates Rithin Kuriakose and Aleena Matthews were surprised at the school’s recent presentation night when they were announced as recipients of cash scholarships to further their education.
They will each receive a $1000 McMahon Scholarship.
The scholarships are sponsored by former Deni High student, turned acclaimed television director Michael McMahon.
The pair, who completed their HSC this year, say they knew nothing of the award until the presentation ceremony.
‘‘I was looking in the program and saw our names saying we got a scholarship; I was so happy,’’ Aleena said.
‘‘I actually wasn’t going to presentation night until my year advisor rang and said I’d better attend,’’ Rithin said.
‘‘I’m glad I went now,’’ he continued.
Mr McMahon, a silver Logie winner and known for his work on Australia shows like ??????, offers the scholarships to help other Deni High students cover university expenses.
Rithin said it is particularly handy for him, as he is not eligible for the Higher Education Concession Scheme which allows students to study and pay off their fees after starting their career.
He said he is ineligible as he is not yet an Australian citizen.
‘‘I’m so glad I got this to help cover fees, otherwise it would’ve been purely out of pocket,’’ said the budding health worker, who works at Deniliquin’s Reject Shop to save for university.
He has applied to health science and medical imaging courses at several universities throughout NSW and Victoria.
Aleena found her passion for her future career through her part-time job at Eric Sim Pharmacy in Deniliquin.
‘‘I always knew I was going to uni, but working there and seeing how it all works made me really want to do pharmacy,’’ she said.
‘‘I’ve applied to universities to study pharmacy in four different states.
‘‘The scholarship will help me with accommodation, considering I have to leave home.’’
Aleena has already received early acceptance to La Trobe University at Bendigo, but says she’ll wait for her other acceptances before deciding where to go.
The scholarships are not only awarded on the basis of academic performance, with Mr McMahon stipulating community work should also be considered.
Aleena has volunteered at the St Vincent de Paul Society in Deniliquin since November 2015, and says she will continue helping where she can until her relocation for study.
Rithin has also completed some volunteer work with the Rural Fire Service, particularly with sandbagging during the Edward River floods in October. He also hopes to continue to help the RFS throughout his study.
Both Rithin and Aleena have expressed a desire to return home to Deniliquin or another rural community at the completion of their studies.
The pair will receive their first round university offers on January 18.
Scholarship recipients Rithin Kuriakose and Aleena Matthews.