Two Far North Queensland students celebrate $20,000 scholarship awards

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

Cooktown State School student Lakea Hegamaea and Mossman State High student Keani Ireson have both been announced as scholarship recipients, thanks to the Harding Miller Education Foundation.

The students – both from Far North Queensland – will each receive $20,000 to support the next four years of their schooling.

The scholarship provides opportunities to young women who lack opportunities to achieve their academic potential and career goals.

Speaking to the Cairns Post newspaper, Miss Ireson said the scholarship would provide help in a variety of ways.

“I do not own my own computer and we live off the grid so it is difficult to complete homework and study at home,” Miss Ireson said.

“The tutoring would help me to keep my grades up and supply me with extra help for necessary subjects.”

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Harding Miller Education Foundation scholarship recipients Kiani Ireson (left) and Laea Hegamaea (right). Photo: supplied

In the same newspaper report on their scholarship success, Cooktown student Lakea Hagamaea said the money and access to assistance would be an enormous boost.

“Living in a remote community has its challenges as educational resources and opportunities are limited as compared to other students in my year level who live in regional cities,” Ms Hagamaea said.

“My goal is to become a doctor and travel to other countries and work there. I am passionate about helping people.”

Harding Miller Foundation executive director Cara Varian described the scholarship recipients as having very high academic potential.

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“They are talented and dedicated, but they simply do not currently have access to the resources they need to make the most of their education opportunities,” Ms Varian told the Cairns Post.

The Harding Miller Foundation has a proud history of supporting keen female students through further education. Since awarding its first scholarship award  in 2016, the foundation, led by by two long-standing philanthropists in the area of girls’ education, Kim Harding and Irene Miller, has awarded more than 460 scholarships.

“Girls are more likely to complete high school and go on to pursue further education when they are supported with equipment, money for resources, tutoring and coaching, and that’s the type of support we are providing to these students,” Ms Varian said.

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]