Sealord scholarship winners. From left; Neal Rhodes, Rosa Hort, Phally Rhodes, Jemma Stephenson and Michael Stephenson. Photo: Fiona Terry.

Sealord scholarship winners announced

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Two lucky young Nelsonians have been awarded a financial boost for their tertiary education, thanks to a helping hand from Sealord.

Every year, the company open applications to the families of staff, awarding up to $10,000 annually to a recipient, or split between several recipients, for tertiary fees, for up to four years.

The idea is to give locals the opportunity to further themselves, while also recognising the good work that they do in the community.

Jemma Stephenson stood out for her voluntary conservation work and is now looking forward to taking up a three-year degree in geography at Victoria University.

The opportunity to study is particularly rewarding for the 19-year-old, who had cancer treatment four years ago.

This involved having five major operations and six months of chemotherapy.

“During year 11, I was only at school half the time and chemotherapy really affected my concentration abilities,” she says.

“Recovery was a long process and even after I finished treatment I still had fatigue issues through years 12 and 13 that affected my studies.”

She says the scholarship is an amazing opportunity to focus on her studies rather than stressing about financial pressures.

“It’s also awesome that there are people other than my parents who believe in me enough to support me.

“I’m so grateful for that.”

Jemma’s dad Michael Stephenson is a forklift driver and general hand at Sealord, and has worked for the company since before Jemma was born.

The other scholarship recipient is Limmaltey Hort, 19, otherwise known as Rosa, who has been volunteering at Nelson’s Hospice in-patient unit and plans to study a Bachelor of Nursing at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) next year.

“When I heard about my success I was over the moon,” she says.

Rosa’s guardian, Phally Rhodes, is a fish processing specialist, who started working at Sealord in 2010.

Sealord general manager group operations Doug Paulin says both candidates stood out for their generous community spirit as well as a clear commitment and drive to work in their chosen fields.

“We had a number of excellent scholarship applications this year, which always makes it tough to make the final call.

“However, both Jemma and Rosa have done a significant amount of volunteer work in the community and put forward compelling cases on what they could give back by pursuing their career paths. They are both well-deserving recipients.”

Seventeen family members of Sealord staff have extended their education with assistance from the Sealord scholarship programme since it began eight years ago.