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2021 Annual Appeal for Bursaries – choose to change a life!

Aquinas College is an extraordinary school but we know an Aquinas education is a privilege not all can afford.  At Aquinas, we believe we go some small way to addressing this inequity through our enrolment process, ensuring diversity and accessibility – the hallmarks of a Christian Brother school.

Each year Aquinas College awards bursaries to students with genuine financial need and great potential.  Boys like Dylan Blair (’16) whose lives are transformed by the opportunities an Aquinas College education affords.

Help us to change the future for more boys like Dylan by supporting our 2021 Annual Appeal for Bursaries.  All contributions to the Appeal are tax-deductible under the name of ‘Aquinas College Foundation Inc Scholarship Fund’ ABN 93 078 219 075, with receipts issued by the Foundation over the coming weeks.

Contributions can be made by selecting Donations & Appeals and then selecting ACF Inc Annual Bursary Appeal from the dropdown menu on the online store (please be sure to complete all the required details); or by filling in the attached form and returning it to: foundation@aquinas.wa.edu.au.

Education equals opportunity.  Thank you for helping us to engage, inspire and empower more boys with opportunities they would otherwise be unable to access.  Thank you for choosing to change a life for the better!

Dylan Blair (’16)

Dylan came to Aquinas from St Dominic’s Innaloo at the commencement of Year 5.  The oldest brother to two younger siblings, Dylan’s childhood was challenging, to say the least.  His mother suffered from severe health issues resulting in his parents divorcing while Dylan was still in primary school.  Dylan’s father took on the role of sole parent to three children and Dylan continued his Aquinas education, which afforded him a “grounding foundation to support myself in my endeavours and grow past my struggles at home.”

As Dylan approached the start of Year 11, however, his father announced the family could no longer afford to send him to Aquinas.  Dylan’s future was on the line – “I was at risk of losing the opportunities I had worked so hard for in academics and sport, not to mention the spiritual aspects of an Aquinas education” – until he was awarded the Terry Bourke Family Scholarship (which provides full fee remission for the last two years of high school). Ever grateful for the chance to continue his Aquinas studies, Dylan made the absolute most of his last two years at school, throwing his energy behind as many academic, cultural, sporting and service opportunities as humanly possible.

  • Years at Aquinas College:  2009-2016
  • Degree: Graduate, Bachelor of Biomedical Science (with High Distinction), University of Notre Dame
  • Awards:
    • House Captain of Redmond
    • Recipient of the Long Tan Leadership Award
    • Year 11 Visual Arts ATAR Prize
    • Various Academic Distinction Awards 2015/16
    • Captain 1st XV Rugby Team
    • 1st VIII HOR Rowing Team 2015/16
    • Best Year 11 Oarsman
    • 1st XV Rugby: Best & Fairest
    • 1st XV Rugby: Players’ Player

What an Aquinas Scholarship meant for Dylan 

 When I was awarded the Terry Bourke Family Scholarship, I placed pretty much all my hope for a future at Aquinas in it. I felt like my struggle through my personal setbacks to achieve at school were going to have the chance to be rewarded. That my opportunities to make something great out of myself despite my circumstances were still there and even more than before I needed to ensure I made the most of them.

 Bursaries have the ability to help young boys become the men they dream of being.  By donating to the Annual Appeal for Bursaries, you can assist them in overcoming boundaries well outside of their control, so that they can focus upon and tackle the things they can control. Terry Burke will forever hold a very special place in my heart for what he and his family did for me, and anyone who is willing to assist in a similar project could have the same effect on someone else’s education.

Corey Sellars (’19)

Corey came to Aquinas from the country town of Katanning as a boarder in 2018 after receiving the Prendiville Scholarship.   With a huge amount of personal motivation, Corey established some ‘lofty’ goals from the start and then set about achieving them – with outstanding results: three ATAR subject awards in year 11, another three in Year 12, as well as academic merit awards along the way, culminating in receiving the Saint Thomas Aquinas Award at the completion of Year 12.  In the sporting arena, Corey represented the College in 1st XV111 Football, 2nds Basketball and 2nds Athletics.

  • Years at Aquinas College” 2018 – 2019
  • Degree: Bachelor of Physiotherapy University of Notre Dame (second-year student)

What an Aquinas Scholarship meant to Corey

Receiving the Prendiville Scholarship made a significant difference for my parents, allowing them to not have to worry about how they were going to pay for my school fees, making the process much easier and less stressful for them.

The major thing that stands out to me about my time at Aquinas is that nothing beats hard work and that in order to reach the lofty goals I’d set for myself a lot of hard work and dedication would be required – I will carry this lesson with me throughout the rest of my life.

Sam Shales (’04)

Following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather, uncles and cousins (from both sides of the family), Sam came to Aquinas as a day student in Year 5 and was subsequently awarded the Old Aquinians’ Association Scholarship for Years 8 – 12. At school, Sam was heavily involved in most aspects of school life: representing the College in 1st XVIII Football and the school Athletics Team; performing in multiple school productions and receiving Music and Drama awards; participating in the Peer Support Program; serving as a Eucharistic Minister, and undertaking many hours of community service.

  • Years at Aquinas: 1997 – 2004
  • Degree: Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from Notre Dame University

After Aquinas

Sam is currently a doctor at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and is training to be an Orthopaedic Surgeon. Over the years, Sam has travelled to Papua New Guinea as well as multiple Australian rural and remote locations to provide medical services to people in need. He has presented research at national and international meetings. In his spare time, he has managed to satisfy his dramatic side with some small television and movie roles, as well as stage musicals.

What an Aquinas College Scholarship Meant to Sam

To me, the opportunity of an Aquinas education enabled me to achieve all of the above and it enabled my parents to afford the cost of sending my younger brother to Aquinas. There is no way I thought I would end up being a surgeon, but Aquinas gave me the tools and the moral values to strive and succeed in the real world.

Jonas Aranda (’13)

Jonas came to Aquinas in Year 8 and was the first person in his family to attend the College. Following consistently high academic results between Years 8 and 10, Jonas was awarded the Terry Bourke Family Scholarship for Years 11 and 12. In addition to his academic prowess, Jonas also excelled in the athletics arena. In his final year at Aquinas, as Redmond House Captain, Jonas scooped the pool at the PSA Athletics Carnival, winning the 1500m, 400m, 800m and 4x400m races.

  • Years at Aquinas: 2009 – 2013
  • Degree: A.B. in Physics from Harvard University                                

After Aquinas

Following graduation from Aquinas, Jonas moved to the US on a scholarship to Harvard University to study Physics, graduating in May 2018. Throughout his four collegiate years, he also competed in the middle distance events (800m and mile) for the Harvard University Track and Field Program, travelling around the US and internationally.  Following graduation from Harvard, Jonas moved to New York City for work and is currently a data scientist with Misfits Market.

What an Aquinas College Scholarship meant to Jonas

To me, the opportunity is the chance to grow and develop as a person, and to be open to the influx of knowledge to align one’s self with the ultimate goal of achieving greatness. Being granted an opportunity like an Aquinas Scholarship does not automatically grant you success; you have to be able to make the sacrifices that the majority aren’t willing to do so that opportunities can be nourished to make a real difference in not only your own life but in the lives of others.

Jiah Reidy (‘16)

Jiah came to Aquinas in Year 8 after receiving a MADALAH (Making a Difference and Leading Ahead) Scholarship and grabbed the opportunity with both hands. The first person in his family to attend the College, Jiah immediately excelled in the sporting arena, representing the College in 1st XVIII Football and 1st V Basketball. Throughout his time at Aquinas, Jiah’s leadership qualities rivalled his sporting prowess. In Year 12, he became the first indigenous Captain of Boarding, was elected Athletics Captain and was the worthy recipient of the Ray Brown Medal for Outstanding Leadership in the Boarding Community.  He is the first person in his family to graduate High School.

  • Years at Aquinas: 2012 – 2016
  • Degree: BSc Sport Science, Exercise and Health UWA

After Aquinas

Since graduating from Aquinas in 2016, Jiah has divided his time between studying and playing football, debuting for the Swan Districts league team in Round 2 of the 2018 season. During this time, he has also volunteered in a mentoring program through Swan Districts for at-risk youths, taking part in campouts or simply having a kick with some young kids.  In early January 2021, following graduation from UWA, Jiah commenced full-time employment as a Graduate (General Corporate Stream) with the Department of Health.

What an Aquinas College Scholarship meant to Jiah

Opportunity to me is a chance at a better future. To have the opportunity to go from a small country town as a young indigenous student, coming from a low socioeconomic background, to one of the most prestigious schools in Perth meant that I have a better chance at making a better future for my family and myself. Opportunity is like a second chance, where you get to wipe the board clean and choose your own destiny.