I write this letter to personally thank you all for your generosity in providing me with a scholarship so that I may complete my Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Education Primary/Secondary degree.
Your generous scholarship has allowed me to buy my much-needed text books and the programs on my computer that I require to complete my studies. It has allowed me to attend my practicums and buy resources to use within these practicums. I have also been able to use it to ease the burden of living away from home and allow some form of savings to begin for when I finish University and begin my educational career.
As I am at the tail end of my degree, I am incredibly excited and scared, however knowing that I have a helping hand within your organisation has made and will make my progression through University life a lot easier and less stressful.
I greatly appreciate the time and effort you have put in to seeing me succeed with my degree and to better myself.
Madison Rawsthorne and June and Stan Gilchrist, UNE Magazine:
Many a romance has been borne of chance encounters at UNE. But there have been countless sustaining friendships, too, like the one that has developed between third-year UNE Law student Madison Rawsthorne and June and Stan Gilchrist.
The Lismore couple first got to know Madi in 2017 when she was caring for her younger brother and applied for a Tertiary Scholarship to help realise her dream to study at university. Stan was then a founding chairman of a philanthropic group which aims to support disadvantaged students.
Madi believes meeting the couple and receiving the scholarship helped turn her life around, and not only financially. In June and Stan, both former teachers, she’s found steadfast allies, who have been unstinting in their support and encouragement during the toughest of times. So close have the trio become, that the Gilchrists consider Madi a surrogate 12th grandchild.
“As scholarship administrators, we’re very committed to engaging, developing and nurturing the individual scholarship recipients, and Madi is no exception,” says Stan. “Developing personal relationships is very important. We love Madi and we’ve become very close.”
In 2019, Madi gave birth to her daughter Luna Rose prematurely and when she and Luna finally returned home to Tamworth, June and Stan were among their first visitors. The couple made a second visit, to meet Madi’s extended family, during Luna’s naming ceremony, and it was to the Gilchrists that Madi turned for emotional support when she tragically lost one of her brothers.
“I find June and Stan so easy to talk to and I look forward to their regular phone calls,” says the rest of my family as well. They are extraordinary people.”
The feeling is mutual. “She’s a very special girl and has so much inner strength,” Stan says. “For Madi. “They have so much experience to share.
“With every challenge, Stan and June have just been beautiful, backing me 100%. It’s not been smooth sailing during the past three years and they have been among my greatest supporters.
“There have been times when I have worried that I have failed to meet their expectations, because June and Stan are investing in me. But they have never made me feel that I have failed them or judged me due to my circumstances. They have taken not only an interest in me, but in the three months after Luna’s premature birth, when she was in John Hunter Hospital, Madi stayed in Ronald McDonald House and completed her studies and got an exceptionally good pass. That’s devotion.”