2021 Annual Appeal for bursaries – your gift will help!

At Aquinas College, our mission has always been to provide an Aquinas College education to as many boys as possible, irrespective of their background. Each year, the College awards bursaries to more than 40 students, with preference given to those in genuine financial need.

With ever-increasing levels of hardship being felt across the WA community this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, we need your help more than ever to provide financial support for a growing number of boys who cannot afford a quality Aquinas College education.

We believe all boys should have the opportunity to discover their best at Aquinas, boys like Corey Sellars (’19), whose lives, professions, families and communities are changed for the better through the gift of an Aquinas College Bursary.

In the spirit of Edmund Rice, we invite you to join us in helping more young men to discover their best by making a contribution to the 2021 Annual Appeal for Bursaries.

All contributions to the 2021 Appeal are tax-deductible under the name of Aquinas College Foundation Inc. Scholarship Fund ABN 93 078 219 075, with receipts issued.  Donations can be made here or by filling in the attached form and returning it to the Foundation.

Read on to hear from some of the talented young men who have passed through the Aquinas College Scholarship Program.

Dylan Blair (’16)

Terry Bourke Family Scholarship

Bachelor of Biomedical Science (with High Distinction), University of Notre Dame

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 mental health issues resulting in his parents divorcing while Dylan was still in primary school, and Dylan’s father taking on the role of sole parent.  Over the following years, Dylan’s education at Aquinas afforded him a “grounding foundation to support myself in my endeavours and grow past my struggles at home.”  However, as Dylan approached the start of Year 11, his father announced he could no longer afford his Aquinas education.  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 for Years 11 & 12.

Years at Aquinas College: 2009-2016

Degree:  Graduate, Bachelor of Biomedical Science (with High Distinction), University of Notre Dame

Awards:  House Captain of Redmond, Captain 1st XV Rugby Team, 1st VIII Rowing Team 2015/16, Recipient of the Long Tan Leadership award

What an Aquinas Scholarship meant for me     

“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 Terry Bourke Family Scholarship.  This scholarship provides full fee remission for the last two years of high school for students who would otherwise not be able to attend Aquinas College.  With a huge amount of personal motivation, Corey established some ‘lofty’ goals at 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 athletics.

Years at Aquinas College 2018 – 2019

Degree Bachelor of Physiotherapy (1st year student) The University of Notre Dame

Awards Prendiville Scholarship recipient – awarded annually to an Aquinas student entering their first year at the University of Notre Dame, covering tuition fees for the first year of study

What an Aquinas Scholarship meant for me
Receiving the Terry Bourke 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 Year 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
Degrees Bachelor of Biomedical Science from Notre Dame University, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from Notre Dame University

After Aquinas
“Since leaving Aquinas, I have completed several degrees. I am currently on the Orthopaedic Training Program and have just received another scholarship to undertake part of my training in the US. Over the years, I have travelled to Papua New Guinea as well as multiple Australian rural and remote locations to provide medical services to people in need. I have presented research at national and international meetings. To fund my studies, I have worked as a bar manager and a promotional manager. In my spare time, I have managed to satisfy my dramatic side with some small television and movie roles, and stage musicals.”

What Opportunity Means to Me
“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 Year 8 and 10, Jonas was awarded the Terry Bourke Family Scholarship for Year 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, I moved to the US on a scholarship to Harvard University to study Physics, graduating in May 2018. Throughout my four collegiate years, I 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, I moved to New York to take up a position as a Data Analyst for the New York University Department of Emergency Medicine, where I am in charge of collecting and analysing data from clinical databases to help the medical centre improve their emergency care delivery systems and, ultimately, patient care.”

What Opportunity Means to Me
“To me, 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 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.

Years at Aquinas 2012 – 2016
Degree BSc UWA, with a double major in Sport Science and Exercise and Health (3rd year)                           

After Aquinas
Since graduating from Aquinas in 2016, I have divided my time between studying and playing football, debuting for the Swan Districts league team in Round 2 of the 2018 season. Study and football permitting, I volunteer in a mentoring program through Swan Districts for at-risk youths, taking part in camp outs or simply having a kick with some young kids.”

What Opportunity Means to Me
“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 means that I have a better chance at making a better future for myself and my family. Opportunity is like a second chance, where you get to wipe the board clean and choose your own destiny.”