La Trobe University’s Bendigo Campus awarded over $100,000 to 86 students at its annual prize ceremony at Ulumbarra Theatre on Thursday, July 27.
A host of industry and private donors ensured Bendigo students were recognised for their academic merit, their personal achievements and the barriers that sometimes need to be overcome to attend university.
The largest donation came from Bendigo-based business Kluwell Publications, which awards a $10,000 scholarship to a Bachelor of Education student from a rural or remote location.
Student Stacy Bacon was awarded the scholarship at Thursday’s ceremony. The first-year student grew up on her family’s dairy farm at Lockington and graduated from Rochester Secondary College last year.
She said the scholarship, paid over the course of four years of study, would make a huge financial difference.
“Especially considering the hardships my family has gone through with the milk industry,” she said. “It will help a lot just with daily living expenses on campus.”
The award also recognised Stacy for her community service and commitment to a rural area.
Stacy has volunteered at schools and orphanages in Cambodia, been a mentor through her own high school and a coach with the Lockington netball club.
“I did a lot of work experience in primary schools when I was younger and ever since I wanted to be a teacher. I love seeing the changes in the kids and seeing the diversity in their backgrounds.
“Hopefully after I graduate I’ll go back to a country school, that’s why I chose to study in Bendigo rather than Melbourne. I’d also love to go back to Cambodia and do some teaching over there.”
Head of Campus Rob Stephenson said while many of the awards were for high academic merit, others provided important financial support when it was needed most.
“Many of our students are the first in their families to attend university and the majority elect to relocate to Bendigo to study with La Trobe,” Mr Stephenson said. “This can create hurdles and financial challenges over and above the academic requirements of university.
“This is why it’s important to acknowledge and thank our donors for their sponsorship of the awards to be presented at the ceremony and to recognise these awards will make a difference to our students as they pursue their dreams of a tertiary qualification and the career opportunities it will open doors to.”