19 students were awarded Woolf Fisher First-in-Family AUT Scholarships at a celebration event at the AUT South Campus on Thursday 29 August.
Established in 2014, the scholarship seeks to break the cycle and support students who will be the first in their immediate families to endeavour to complete an undergraduate degree. The students come from families with no history of degree level study, and for whom university study is a challenge for the family due to financial or cultural reasons.
The students will be the fifth group of scholars, joining 70 scholarship awardees; 17 of this group have graduated, 2 have gone on to study at a postgraduate level, and 40 are currently enrolled.
Sir Noel Robinson from the Woolf Fisher Trust said the trust was set up to improve education in New Zealand and has made a difference to many families and communities. “Set yourself a goal and never ever give up until you’ve achieved it,” he encouraged the scholars.
Bachelor of Health Science student Rulon Brown stressed the importance of family in his speech. “No matter how many people we meet, how many friends we make or lose, at every chapter, obstacle and struggle, the ones who are there are our family,” he said.
Bachelor of Arts student Penina-Rose Faaee said that as the youngest of five raised by a single mother, the scholarship means her family doesn’t have to worry about her education. “It means I can go straight into the workforce without having to pay a student loan. This motivates me to do better and not take opportunities for granted,” she said.
The late Sir Woolf Fisher was a passionate supporter of education in New Zealand. In 1960, he founded the Woolf Fisher Trust for the advancement of scientific and general education in New Zealand through its prestigious fellowships and scholarships. The trustees hope that recipients of their fellowships and scholarships will demonstrate some of the qualities which Sir Woolf himself embodied in his successful career as an industrial pioneer: integrity, leadership, boldness of vision and exceptional keenness and capacity for work.