“Extremely honoured” and “forever grateful”: students say “thank you” for life-changing scholarships

In next week’s scholarship presentation ceremony, this year’s scholarship recipients will be acknowledged for their achievements and will have an opportunity to say thank you in person to some of the donors who are supporting them to be at St Mark’s.

Scholarships are a truly life-changing gift. In many cases, students would otherwise not have been able to afford to be at university and college in Adelaide, and in all cases the relief of financial stress makes a great difference to their ability to focus on their studies and to take advantage of the other opportunities which College provides. The need is real, and the impact of support is transformational.

Scholarships help to make St Mark’s accessible to students from diverse backgrounds who might not otherwise have been able to join our community. They also give us opportunities to encourage and celebrate excellence amongst our students.

Over recent months, dozens of St Mark’s students have been writing deeply moving letters of thanks for what they recognize as the life-changing opportunities they have been given through scholarships.

The letters of thanks pay inspiring testimony to the benefits that students see in being at St Mark’s, and reflect deep gratitude and, in many cases, a determination to provide similar opportunities for future students when they are able to do so.

They also speak to the particular impact that the St Mark’s collegiate experience has had on them, reshaping their lives and their university experience, including through academic and wellbeing support and by helping them build friendships, expand their horizons, and grow in confidence.

The extracts below are just a sample of the very many letters of thanks which students have been writing.

“I am amazed each day by the countless positive interactions I am having at St Mark’s: simply by walking to breakfast in the morning, or sharing a smile with someone that I recognise from college, while at university. The academic support from peers, faculty and staff here is making a significant impact on my achievements, especially for someone who has been out of school for two years. Having grown up in economic hardship, and being independent for two years, your patronage provides me with significant emotional and financial relief and truly makes or breaks the reality of me being a student at St Mark’s College. Thank you for your belief in me.”

“Without college I wouldn’t be studying in Adelaide and wouldn’t be the person I am today. Unfortunately, my family circumstances mean that they cannot financially support me so on their behalf I would like to say thank you as without this scholarship I wouldn’t be residing in Adelaide. One promise I hope to keep is to donate back a portion of money when I leave St Mark’s to help someone else in need just like I am. I hope that by doing so it creates a regenerative generous cycle whereby the recipient of my scholarship one day will do the same for someone else. So, for your generosity I cannot thank you enough!”

“To say that myself and my family are grateful for this scholarship is an understatement. My summer holiday job in hospitality was largely affected by the flood, which resulted in me earning less money than I had aimed for, to cover university and educational expenses. I feel extremely lucky and humbled to have been one of the students selected for a scholarship and will always be thankful to be a part of a college which exhibits such generosity.”

“The past three years at St Mark’s College have been remarkable. Despite the many challenges posed by the pandemic, my university years have been full of memorable experiences and personal growth. I have remarked previously that St Mark’s academic support program, culture of scholarship and world-class mentors were essential to my tertiary success, and that remains true. However, I also recognise that the enriching conversations, contests of ideas and unique perspectives that are part and parcel of Collegiate life, have also been invaluable. To live at St Mark’s is to receive a broad education in life. St Mark’s College is a truly special institution and it is why I strive to make the most of the academic opportunities available and give back to the community.”

“My family have been under a substantial amount of financial pressure and, quite genuinely, this scholarship has presented me with the opportunity to stay at St Mark’s. Going in to 2023 it was looking unlikely that I would be able to return for another year, having to face the fact that I would be unable to spend another year in an environment I truly love, amongst the friends that mean the world to me. Thank you for granting me with an opportunity that would have otherwise been missed. I am beyond grateful for your contribution to my learning. I will ensure it doesn’t go amiss. “

“As I write this letter, I am currently in my sixth day of my St Mark’s journey and can attest to the culture that has been curated at the College, the sense of kindness and camaraderie, that being a part of St Mark’s for me already feels like so much more than just a college. Put simply, it already feels like home. I hope one day, whether that be 30, 40, 50, or 60 years from now, I will also have an opportunity to offer someone in my position the same opportunities as you have given me.”

“Without your help I would not be attending College this year. With the recent drought I was unable to receive financial assistance from my parents. As you can imagine, it is extremely stressful starting a new chapter of my life, let alone not knowing where I can afford to stay. I cannot find the words to express how much stress and anxiety you have taken away from this process.”

“St Mark’s College has given me the opportunity to change who I am and get out of the old habits I was stuck in while at home. College is the place where I can be who I want to be and where I can achieve anything I want. This is the place I now call home, living with many mates and surrounded by a number of helpful staff who are always looking out to help wherever they can. St Mark’s college has been the perfect place for me to live after making the big shift from a country town to the city. This scholarship will help relieve my stress  during the year. I can now focus more on my study, hopefully allowing me to increase my grades over the year. This scholarship will not only relieve stress from me but also my parents who are still supporting my 3 brothers. Once again, I cannot express enough how thankful I am for this scholarship and will forever be grateful.”

“I would not be the person I am today without the experiences and environment St Mark’s College provides; it makes me extremely proud to say that I am a collegian. The generosity of this prize facilitates my continuing time at college but also heavily lifts financial pressures from my dad, who solely supports myself and my other two siblings. Furthermore, this prize allows me to concentrate on my studies without having to commit to full time employment to afford the ever-increasing cost of living”

“My mum was unfortunately made redundant towards the end of last year, so when I was awarded this scholarship it was extremely stress-relieving.”

“I am overwhelmed with thanks for the understanding and support shown towards me for the past two years. I am so appreciative of the way in which my strengths, weaknesses, and disadvantages are accepted. Being in receipt of the Margaret and Harry Trust Scholarship has near well singlehandedly enabled me to spend yet another life changing year at St Mark’s College. St Mark’s College is my home, and always will be. I have had the best two years of my life at this institution, and never felt the amount of pride for myself and my surroundings, as in residence here. I feel supported and seen uniquely by every single member of faculty, leadership, and student at the College. To feel this support to such a degree is an incredibly rare and privilege thing that I will carry with me forever. I have grown more as a person, student, friend, and family member in the past twenty-four months than ever in my life. For this to be recognised, and my potential seen, exemplified in the award of this scholarship, is an incredibly heartfelt experience.

My daily life has an ironic duplicity of difficulty and ease. My difficulties lay in medical stress, and consequent financial burden, which I feel every day. My ease is found in the incredible life that I live, the amazing people I share it with, and the overall almost unbelievable lifestyle I maintain. This scholarship reduces my difficulties and increases my ease, so that I may continue to focus on the beautiful experiences provided to me by the College—whether it be the inspiring academics I get to meet, the firm support network for my wellbeing, the friends I am so privileged to live alongside every day, or even just the peace I experience every morning waking up to the incredible scenery of the College campus.”

If you would like to help change the lives of current or future students at St Mark’s, please give now through clicking here.