Foxton students win $20,000

TALIA SHADWELL
Last updated 12:00 29/11/2012

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Two Foxton school leavers have scooped $20,000 each in national scholarships designed to give bright students from low-decile schools a step up to university.

Prestigious national scholarships have been awarded to Kayla Astwood and Ben Kleinsman-Hill from the First Foundation.

The Year 13 pupils, who both live in Foxton, were among 42 New Zealand school leavers to receive scholarship - and the only two in the Manawatu region to receive the $20,000 apiece boost.

The pair will be supported throughout their study by funding from the New Zealand Community Trust and Horowhenua District Council.

Kayla, currently at Manawatu College, intends to start a degree in social work next year.

Kayla said the scholarship and guaranteed paid summer work had taken the financial weight off her shoulders as she approached university.

"It's not just money in the hand, it's also a chance to earn it back."

Waiopehu College student Ben plans to study mechatronics as part of a Massey University engineering degree.

He envisions a career in the film industry, and as the Hobbit fanfare reaches fever pitch, he has his sights set on one day working with animatronics at Weta Workshops.

Ben was home-schooled until age 15, and he speculated that might have been a factor in his selection for the scholarship.

"I guess I demonstrated a lot of potential because my results have improved in the last three years."

First Foundation was set up to give high-achieving students from low-decile schools a hand up to tertiary education.

The scholarships are valued at $20,000 each and it is the second year running that a scholarship has been awarded to Horowhenua students. Last year, Waiopehu College student Karleigh O'Connor received her scholarship to study medicine in Dunedin.

Her award marked the first time in its 14-year history that a First Foundation scholarship had been awarded outside of New Zealand's three main centres.

The scholarship will be available to Manawatu, Waiopehu and Horowhenua College pupils in 2013.

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- The Manawatu Standard

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