February is a month of change at Massey. New students, new studies, a fresh chance, and a final year, and all these changes feature in the 2012 round of scholarships given to distance students by EXMSS last month.
Of the 39 scholarship applications received for our four offered scholarship types, six students received a total of $4,950. It would have been amazing to give scholarships to many more, because certainly the calibre of applicants was particularly high and worthy this year.
Three scholarships for Academic Excellence were given, at $1,000 each: Kathleen Ramsay of Hastings, undertaking a Bachelor of Education (Teaching); Hona Black of Palmerston North, finishing his Master of Philosophy (Maori Studies); and Claire Swann of Gisborne, completing her Bachelor of Education (Early Years). Mrs Swann was particularly easy to decide, with straight A grades for all her completed papers while balancing life with work, finances and caring for three busy children.
Hona is a scholarship recipient who believes strongly in giving back to his whanau and community from whom he has received so much support. His undergrad degree was good, but since studying extramurally for his Masters he has excelled, and he says its all due to the support systems of Massey, and his family. He still lives at home while studying, but he has also given four years as boarder’s mentor and caregiver at the same school he attended – Hato Paora College. He agrees with one of his referees, that he is “committed, passionate about education, Te Reo and Maori culture.” His employer has been generously supportive in allowing Hona study time, as does his family, which has allowed him to prioritise his workload. Regarding studying extramurally, when asked what his biggest challenge was, however, Hona was unsure how to answer:
“Really there have been no big challenges. It fitted in with my life, studying extramurally is so flexible, and when I struggled with not having enough class time with my lecturers I live close enough that I can just pop up to campus and see them.” He is putting his $1000 scholarship money straight back into this studies, so as to relieve stress of student loans and for his family. His thesis topic looks at the Treaty of Waitangi in secondary schools.
The three other scholarships were for $650 each:
- Nawarihi Ruckes of Rotorua was awarded the Bi-cultural Achievement Scholarship, having completed 17 papers so far of a Bachelor of Business Studies. She has been inspired by both her father and daughter, and is an amazing example of a life-long learner.
- Amelia Mawhinney of Drury gained the award for Disabled students at the very young age of 19 years, and is majoring in English. The grant would allow her to attend the all-important contact courses which require a huge effort for her in her circumstances.
- Tanya Turner is a Second Chance learner. She lives in Upper Hutt, and intends to pull out all the stops in her studies this year, having gained the Second Chance award studying the conjoint degrees of BA and BSc.
Congratulations to all the winners, and also to all those who applied – your achievements are truly outstanding and a credit to the records of distance education.