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Pic caption (left to right): TLC 2024 Inspiring Local Minds Scholarship winners Te Atamihi Papa, Grace Burnard and Joshua Simons.

Local head students secure TLC study scholarships

27 October 2023

Three local school leavers have been awarded prestigious study scholarships from The Lines Company (TLC).

It’s a double celebration for Ruapehu College with both head boy Joshua Simons and head girl Grace Burnard securing Inspiring Local Minds Scholarships.  The third recipient, Te Atamihi Papa, is also head girl at her school –  Te Wharekura o Maniapoto.

All three students head to university next year.  Joshua will begin studying law and health science at  the University of Auckland. Te Atamihi and Grace are both off to the University of Waikato; Te Atamihi to study law and Grace to study science.

TLC chief executive Mike Fox assessed all 12 scholarship applications alongside TLC’s customer and community engagement manager Anne Terry and WESCT Trustee Guy Whitaker. Fox said it was impossible not to be impressed.

“There were some great applications but these three stood out. Te Atamihi is a kapa haka leader and Tainui regional speech winner in both English and Māori. She is highly active in sports and is one of a 12 person Ministry of Education advisory group,” Fox said.

“Grace plays squash at a national level, is a volunteer coach and also works part-time at a child-care facility. Joshua is the student sports co-ordinator, founded the Chess and Book Club, leads the school Enviro Committee and loves the outdoors. They’re an impressive trio and I’m really proud that a locally owned company can provide some help with their study costs.”

Fox stressed the scholarships were not just about academic excellence or only for students heading off to university. Each year, TLC also considers applications from those undertaking trades training, he said.

“We’re looking for local, well-rounded rangitahi who plan on undertaking tertiary study in an area related to TLC and that’s pretty broad. Plus, since the scholarship programme was launched in 2018, all winners have shown a wider commitment to their community. That’s important, because ideally, we’d like to see them back here, sharing their skills.”

The scholarships provide recipients with $2,000 each per year for three years of study. As well as financial support, scholarship winners are offered mentoring or work experience opportunities with TLC during holiday periods.

Waitomo Energy Services Customer Trust (WESCT) chair William Oliver said the Trust was a big supporter of the scholarship programme and would be actively encouraging applications over coming years. WESCT owns TLC on behalf of customer beneficiaries.

“We know it can be pretty challenging for some of our local students to find the money they need, especially when they are away from home. WESCT wants to see benefits from the company stay in our community and supporting our young people get upskilled is a great way to do that.”


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