From state care to University scholar
6 December 2019
Thanks to the support of the Ralph & Eve Seelye Charitable Trust, 54 students since 2014 have received a life-changing boost to help them through University.
Bachelor of Health Sciences student Tahirah Moton was one of the Ralph & Eve Seelye Undergraduate Scholarship recipients. She spoke at the recent For All Our Futures Gala Celebration and 2019 Chancellor’s Dinner and described how much of an impact the scholarship has had on her life.
“It is particularly special for me, as I grew up in state care, so being supported was not always a reality for me.
“Knowing I have that support and that vote of confidence it is really reassuring and helps me strive to do well in my studies.”
At 13 years old Tahirah was placed in the first of her five foster homes, until she was discharged from state care at 17. She then began flatting which came with a number of challenges.
“While I received a youth benefit from the Government, I was left with only $20 a week for food after paying rent. Thankfully I ended up receiving some financial support from the Dingwall Trust.”
That same year Tahirah also applied for the Ralph & Eve Seelye Undergraduate Scholarship.
“Trying to navigate flatting was quite a struggle, both financially and in terms of the impact it had on my academic performance, so I was overwhelmed when I found out that I was a recipient of this scholarship because a huge pressure was taken off me and I could dedicate myself to my studies.
“At 17, I couldn’t see myself doing well. I knew I wanted to do something with my life but I didn’t think it would manifest itself in the way it has.
“Five thousand dollars a year may not seem a lot to some people but for me it was completely life changing. I would not be able to pay my rent without it and it gives me the security that I have enough money to go to the doctor if I need to.”
Now in her third year of her degree, Tahirah aims to pursue postgraduate studies to focus on redressing health and social inequities.
The Ralph & Eve Seelye Undergraduate Scholarship supports up to 10 selected students annually who are in Year 13 at a decile 1-3 New Zealand secondary school and are intending to enrol in a full-time degree programme at the University of Auckland.
The trust also funds the Eve Seelye Fellowships, which attract eminent scholars to visit the University, as well as Kupe Leadership Scholarships, which offer a unique opportunity for exceptional students from all faculties to enrich a year of their postgraduate studies.
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