Cotton growers give $16000 to students

Rebecca Pfingst and Bethany Buckle, Cr Lachlan Brennan and Phil Sloan (MacIntyre Valley Cotton Field Day Committee).
Rebecca Pfingst and Bethany Buckle, Cr Lachlan Brennan and Phil Sloan (MacIntyre Valley Cotton Field Day Committee).

Two Goondiwindi State High School Year 12 students, Bethany Buckle and Rebecca Pfingst, have been awarded MacIntyre Valley Cotton Growers Association bursaries.

The bursaries – $8000 each – will help support them in their university endavours.

For many years the Association has awarded an annual bursary to one GSHS student, and this year in an unprecedented move, two bursaries were awarded based on the quality of the applicants, combined with the fact that the bursary fund was quite healthy.

Speaking on behalf of the MacIntyre Valley Cotton Growers Association, and as President of the MacIntyre Valley Cotton Field Day Committee, Mr Robert Austen said “It is a credit to (GSHS Principal) Brett Hallett, all his team, as well as the parents to witness the high calibre of students that graduate from Goondiwindi State High School today.”

“I also congratulate each and every applicant on their hard work and dedication during their schooling, as it clearly shows,” he said.

Bethany will be studying a Bachelor of Speech Pathology at the Southern Cross University’s Gold Coast campus, accepted as part of their early entry program.

Southern Cross University’s STAR Early Entry enables Year 12 students at partner schools, of which GSHS is one, to gain early admission to SCU on the basis of their school principal’s recommendation.

Rebecca is already accepted to the Central Queensland Conservatorium to Music to study theatre, as well as securing a placement at Union College within the University of Queensland where she is considering studying a Bachelor of Advanced Humanities with a Diploma in Music Performance.  Another consideration for Rebecca is a double degree in Law and Creative Industries at Queensland University of Technology.

Funds for the bursary are raised primarily from profits of MacIntyre Valley Cotton Growers Association events: The McIntyre Valley Field Day, The Cotton Awards Dinner and the Cotton Charity Golf Day.

Students and teachers enjoy their involvement by cooking a barbeque at the golf day.  The Goondiwindi Regional Council also contributes.

“The Association’s bursary is just one way in which the community values a pursuit for academic excellence by our students,” School Principal Brett Hallet said.

“Having the support of the local cotton industry and related businesses enables students to pursue a university pathway to a career; everything we can do as a community to promote education either at school or beyond, is vital in ensuring our youth appreciate the importance of healthy attitude towards their own personal education,” Mr Hallett said.

It was particularly fitting for Mr Austen to present the bursaries this year as it was exactly 10 years ago that he was the recipient of the same award.

 “It meant the world to me; not only did it help me to buy a laptop and textbooks but it was a huge psychological boost to my confidence and gave me the encouragement I needed to head to the ‘big smoke’ to complete my university degree,” Mr Austen told the school on graduation day.

Mr Austen said he was the only male in his graduating class to complete a university degree.

Student attitudes to academia have certainly changed over the decade as many of the GSHS students, both male and female, will head out of town early next year to commence studies at university.

He said that being a past recipient of the bursary is the reason he became involved with the MacIntyre Valley Cotton Field Day Committee.

“It felt good to stand up at the recent Cotton Awards Dinner and tell the growers, that as a recipient of the award, I enjoy contributing back to a community who assisted me so much in attaining my degree and propelling me into an exciting career in agronomy,” Mr Austen said.