Duo thrilled with schol­ar­ships

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - NEWS - By KACEE JOHN­STON

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.

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