The awards were presented by the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust at a function at the Novotel tonight.

Twenty school leavers, starting tertiary study this year, each received funding of $2000 a year, for the duration of a three or four-year degree.

Trust chairman Stewart Edward said five of the awards were based on academic achievement at NCEA levels 12 and 13, while 15 recognised leadership skills and involvement in school, cultural and wider community activities.

Former John Paul College student Te Rina West was one of the award recipients.

Miss West will attend the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts.

She said receiving an award from home meant a lot.

“Personally, the award isn’t only about the funding – although that’s a bonus – but knowing I’ve played an active part in my community.

“It’s been amazing to give back to a community that has given me so much.”

Mr Edward said students receiving the awards had contributed hundreds of hours over the past year to making Rotorua a better place to live.

This included Miss West, who had passionately volunteered for KidsCan, Women’s Refuge, the Sunset Breakfast Club and was an active voice on the Rotorua Lakes Youth Council committee and Rotorua Youth Voice, he said.

“For the past 20 years, the trust has supported a diverse range of organisations and is the most significant provider of student awards and support in the region.

“The trust isn’t just focused on today, but on developing a better future for our people, our children and our children’s children for many decades to come.”

The trust’s direct investment in education this year will be more than $760,000.

Tertiary study awards were first presented by the trust in 1996.

To date, more than 900 local students have been presented awards, many of whom have returned to live and work in Rotorua.

SOURCE: NZ Herald

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