22.12.2020

Community Partnership Benefits Students

Community Partnership Benefits Students
L to R: Gay McDonell, Yenework Demelash, Elul Tecle and San Clemente Principal, Bernard Burgess.

A strong community partnership formed between Mentor Support Network and the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation is providing opportunity for two refugee students at San Clemente High School to excel in their studies and life experiences.

Chair of MSN’s Refugee Scholarship Committee, Pat O’Flaherty, said the support of the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation in funding refugee student scholarships had been invaluable.

“We have students from seven nationalities receiving refugee scholarships which are designed to assist marginalised students to have equal access to high school resources and technology (uniforms, ancillary fees, excursions, books, computers, equipment, software and internet access),” said Pat.

“A valued component of the support is mentoring which for some students can be as fundamental as how to open and manage a bank account through to managing their scholarship funding or more complex mentoring about life and career choices.”

Pat said the assistance of the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation was helping two refugee students at San Clemente in Yenework Demelash and Elul Tecle who are both from Ethiopia.

English as an Additional Language/Dialect Teacher at San Clemente, Gay McDonell, said Yenework and Elul had used their scholarships funds to purchase laptops and other school equipment.

“San Clemente and Mentor Support Network have had a long association in supporting refugee students and it’s wonderful to see Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation be a partner in such an important program,” said Gay.

“The mentoring aspect of the program has brought high-powered people from the business community into the school to assist our refugee students and it has been very positive.

“Mentors have helped students overcome educational and real-life obstacles and the benefit has been that the students are learning from someone other than a teacher.

“The scholarship and mentoring program has been special to many of our refugee students.”

Pat said MSN, like many not-for-profit organisations had been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic but that strong bonds with corporate partners such as Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation had allowed the network to continue operations which was benefitting mentor volunteers and scholarship holders.