Fianna Scholarship 2007

This years Fianna Scholarship Winners from Northcote College:

Zulfiqah Ali Yousufi & Moana Lawrence

Exceptional North Shore students ‘outward bound’

The Fianna Scholarship is a relatively new award, but it’s one that has changed the lives of ten young North Shore students so far: two each year, from a local secondary school. The 2007 winners are a young Afghani refugee, and a sports-mad, community-minded 16-year old from Northcote College.

The Fianna Scholarship was founded in 2003 by St Patrick’s Day Golf Classic Charitable Trust, which raises funds through an annual charitable golf tournament to send two special students through Outward Bound’s intensive 21-day Mind, Body and Soul course.

Each year the scholarships are awarded to a different school, and this year it was the turn of Northcote College. “We don’t select the winners,” says Charitable Trust trustee, Gary Monk. “We aren’t qualified to do that. The best people to choose the most suitable candidates are the schools themselves, so we nominate a school and the Principal - in this case Vicki Barrie - and senior staff make the decision.”

The 2007 winners, who hail from sharply contrasting backgrounds, are 16-year-old Moana Lawrence, who grew up with parents and whanau on the Shore, and Zulfiqah Ali Yousufi – better known as Ali – whose younger days were spent in Afghanistan.

Now a Year 12 student at Northcote College, Ali was separated from his parents, brothers and sisters during the Afghanistan war, at the age of 10. He arrived in New Zealand in 2004, to live with an uncle and aunt who were Tampa refugees.
“I started school in New Zealand at Northcote Intermediate at the end of the last term of 2004,” he says. “I did not know how to speak English, but I did great on Athletics Day and had an offer from the Takapuna Athletics Club to join it for free.” 
Ali began his secondary education at Birkenhead College, moving to Northcote College last year, and achieved credits in all his subjects. He excels at athletics, cricket, cross-country and soccer, and plans to study sport and/or business at university.

Moana lives in Northcote with her mum, dad and younger sister. Her two older sisters now have families of their own. A keen basketball player, she has represented North Harbour in Under 12s, Under 14s and in this year’s title-winning Under 17s team, and plays in the Northcote Premier League. She is a talented netballer as well, and was selected for the New Zealand Maori team. “This was challenging, as my first sport is not netball,” she admits. “But I enjoyed it a lot and made new friends.”
Moana also finds time to be a member of Northcote College’s excellent Kapa Haka group, which finished seventh overall in this year’s Auckland Secondary Schools Polynesian Festival.
When her schooling is behind her, she plans to become a social worker: “Growing up in the environment I have, you see the struggles that youth have to go through every day, just to get by. I want to help the needy, and also the disabled. Although my academic side is not that strong, I want to try and get as far as possible with my social work career,” she says.

Since founding the Fianna Scholarship in 2003, the St Patrick’s Day Golf Classic Charitable Trust has funded students from Rosmini College, Westlake Girls, Takapuna Grammar, Rangitoto College, Birkenhead College, and now Northcote College, through the course at Outward Bound. “Next year we will choose another Secondary School on the Shore and ask them to nominate their candidates,” says Gary Monk. “And we are celebrating our 20th annual charity St Patrick’s Day Golf Classic on 29 February 2008 at the North Shore Golf Club to fund them through the course.”