SIARRAH Carpenter prides herself on being a hard worker, but knows that’s not always enough for success.
The Maitland High student, 14, is one of four children and has seen her family’s already tight finances stretched even further after her father received a diagnosis of type one diabetes.
“Before we could not afford things, but then it got more tough,” she said. “It costs extra to get the needles and medicines he needs.”
Siarrah has been given the opportunity to access the resources and support she requires thanks to a scholarship from the Harding Miller Education Foundation.
The charitable organisation held an event at Sydney Town Hall this week to give 76 two-year scholarships valued at $10,000 to high academic achieving year nine girls experiencing personal or socioeconomic disadvantage.
The scholarships include new laptops, high speed internet, face-to-face and online tutoring, subject and career guidance, mentoring and financial support to help with uniforms, books and other expenses.
Siarrah said students in Maitland High’s best performing science class were invited to apply for consideration.
“I knew it would help me with what I want in life and to succeed in the future with jobs and university – it will help get me there,” Siarrah said.
“I feel honoured and excited that I got it.
“It’s going to make a big difference with how I go at school and in my future – and it will ease some of the pressure on my parents.”
Siarrah wants to work with animals – possibly as a vet – or in hospitality.
Other recipients included Siarrah’s Maitland High peer Ella Bullivant, Kurri Kurri High’s Sophia Bacon, Josie Madden and Lucy Bacon, Erina High’s Shaykaya-Jaide Robinson and Northlakes High’s Tiahla Simpson.
All will be invited at the end of year 10 to reapply for another two years of support.
The Harding Miller Education Foundation has supported more than 270 scholarship recipients since its launch in 2015.
It said it was “on a mission” to change the under representation of women in positions of power and influence.
Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency recently found that women hold only 13.7 per cent of chair positions, 24.9 per cent of directorships and 16.5 per cent of chief executive roles.