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Opotiki Student Wins Mike Pero Scholarship

Opotiki Student Wins Mike Pero Mortgages Scholarship

An Opotiki College student has been named the overall winner and has won the $5,000 scholarship to put towards her tertiary education after impressing the Mike Pero Mortgages Foundation selection panel for the 2009 Scholarship Programme.

Alicia Gleeson, who is in her final year at Opotiki College in the Bay of Plenty, was awarded the $5,000 scholarship, which she will use for her Bachelor of Commerce at Otago University. She plans to do a double major in Accounting and International Business Management.

Alicia says she received the news of her scholarship success just before her birthday.

“It was the best birthday present ever. I was caught completely off-guard when I got the news and I was buzzing for days afterwards. It means so much to me to win this scholarship as all the hard work I’ve put in to my education so far has finally paid off. It’s even more special because I will be the first person in my family to go to university and just as importantly, it will take the financial pressure off my family.”

Alicia says the scholarship means a lot to her, personally.

“I come from a community and background where people don’t achieve. To be singled out and rewarded with this scholarship means all my hard work has been recognised. Winning this scholarship from so many other deserving people is humbling and a very proud moment for my family and I.”

The Mike Pero Mortgages Foundation awarded two other scholarships to high school students. Kiri Diack from Aurora College in Invercargill and Beaumyn Wihongi from Northland College in Kaikohe will both receive a $2,500 tertiary scholarship. Kiri will put this towards a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery at Otago University next year. Beaumyn Wihongi will use his scholarship for a Bachelor of Maori and Pacific Development, majoring in Te Reo Maori, at Waikato University.

Mike Pero Mortgages Chief Executive Shaun Riley says the selection panel had a very difficult, but ultimately very satisfying and enjoyable, task in selecting the three final candidates from over 650 applications. He says the standard of candidates was extremely impressive.

“Alicia, Kiri and Beaumyn, are very talented students and we believe they will do very well at university. They are all well-rounded individuals who are committed to giving something back to their community,” he says.

“The aim of the Mike Pero Mortgages Foundation Scholarship Programme is to encourage young New Zealanders to reach their full potential in their chosen area of study.

“We believe that by giving them a financial head start that they will be able to make their goals and aspirations a reality.”

The Scholarship Programme is a nationwide initiative open to all New Zealand students, aged between 17 and 25, embarking on their first year of tertiary study. It was launched by the Mike Pero Mortgages Foundation to deliver programmes that will benefit the community.

Applicants were required to complete an application form outlining their academic, cultural and community achievements and interests, as well as their intended course of study and why they had chosen it.

Shaun Riley says the Scholarship Programme has proven to be very successful since it was introduced three years ago.

“We are thrilled with the response we’ve had from students around the country. In the first year we received 60 applications and this year we got over 650. This Programme is going from strength to strength and we are committed to continue providing options for students who show a real dedication to their studies and who may find the cost of quality education prohibitive,” he says.


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