$22,000 donated to high school students for Kokoda scholarship
Tue, 04/06/2019 - 16:29

City of Canada Bay Mayor Angelo Tsirekas today announces six local high school students have been awarded the 2019 Rusty Priest Kokoda Scholarship.

The Scholarship provides the opportunity for senior high school students from schools within the City of Canada Bay to participate in the RSL & Services Club Association’s Kokoda Youth Leadership Challenge, which culminates in an annual trek of the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea.

“The Rusty Priest Kokoda Scholarship, established by Council in 2016, encourages students to appreciate those who have walked the track before them and develop an awareness of the local people who currently live along the trail,” City of Canada Bay Mayor Angelo Tsirekas said.

It also provides a practical understanding of teamwork and increase personal fitness.

“This initiative, now in its fourth year, continues to honour Rusty Priest’s contribution to the RSL movement and Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway and create an ongoing legacy,” said Mayor Tsirekas.

Rusty Priest AM – a WWII veteran – worked to establish the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway in Concord and served as Chairman from 1994 to 2012, before his death in 2013.

He also contributed more broadly to our community as state president of the NSW RSL and deputy national president of the RSL.

“This year I am pleased to share that Sofia Mifsud, Tiana Rodarellis, Hayden O’Connell, Oscar Mikha, Maurice Lahood, and Lavender Gardam are the proud recipients of our 2019 Rusty Priest Kokoda Scholarship.”

“As an avid traveller involved heavily in Scouts Australia, and the recipient of the 2018 ANZAC Award, it would be an honour to trek the Kokoda Trail.  I look forward to the challenge and experiencing a small part of the conditions and struggles our soldiers faced,” said Hayden O’Connell, scholarship recipient.

“The struggles and pain that so many individuals and families endured during the war is often unimaginable and to be able to honour them by walking this trek and experiencing the rich history with my peers is a huge privilege which I am extremely grateful for,” said scholarship recipient Tiana Rodarellis.

This scholarship has been established in conjunction with the Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway and Rusty Priest Foundation.