Fianna Scholarship 2013


St Patrick’s Day Classic Charitable Trust trustees with the 2013 Fianna Scholarship recipients. From left to right: Bob Nelligan, Grace Phillips, Echezona Unamadu, Patrick Flynn and Gary Monk 


St Patricks Day Charity Classic Fianna Scholarships: 2014 Recipients

Westlake Girls High School students Grace Phillips and Echezona Unamadu are the recipients of this year’s St Patricks Day Charity Classic Fianna Scholarships.

For 10 years the St Patrick’s Day Classic Charitable Trust has used funds raised at their annual golf tournament (St Patricks Day Charity Classic) to provide Fianna Scholarships. In 2004 the Trustees decided to do something for the young of the North Shore by annually sponsoring two Year 12 students to Outward Bound’s Mind Body & Soul Course.

“We ask the selected school to pick the winners, with our only criteria being that it is unlikely that family circumstances would enable the winners to easily afford the course fees and air fares to Anakiwa,” says St Patrick's Day Golf Charitable Trust Trustee, Bob Nelligan.

Shortly after they had been awarded the scholarships, Channel talked to Grace and Echezona about their awards and what they were looking forward to at the Outward Bound Mind Body & Soul Course.

Grace Phillips is in her second year at Westlake and is one of four girls in her family, is sports and outdoors mad and also loves to sing and read. She lives with her older sisters who are at university and both are ex-Westlake students, one of whom was a sports prefect, a role that Grace wants to do as well. An unexplored interest of Grace's is travelling and the trip to Outward Bound will be her first time on a plane.

Grace is looking forward to the Outward Bound challenge. "I am expecting a huge challenge. The fact it is my first time on a plane and leaving the North Island will be a scary experience. However, I am very much looking forward to it. I have done lots of research online about other students who have engaged with the Outward Bound experience and I am anticipating a huge personal discovery experience. This opportunity is something that I wouldn't normally have access too. I am so grateful for the St Patricks Day Charity fund guys who were so awesome and generous. They even gifted us an Icebreaker thermal and awesome backpack as well as fully funding the whole experience. Coming from a family of four sisters, we generally pull together but this experience will be something that I have to stand up as an individual and take charge and responsibility of my own actions."

Echezona Unamadu is originally from Nigeria and has been in New Zealand for over five years. She lives with her uncle, aunty, one biological brother and her cousins, who are her brothers and sisters as she is adopted. She says they are a big family with mum and dad, five brothers and two sisters and as a result have a pretty noisy and chaotic house that's lots of fun. She has learnt English in New Zealand and is now reasonably fluent. School work is very important to Echezona who is just finishing year 11 at Westlake Girls. She goes to Harbourside Church and has a passion for sports – including soccer, netball, athletics, swimming – and also has an ambition to be a sports prefect for Westlake in year 13.

"I expect that I will become a lot fitter from doing Outward Bound," said Echezona when asked about her expectations of the course. "I will develop leadership skills. I will gain some outdoor survival skills and water skills. It will help me develop my personal self-discipline which will assist me in all endeavours that I will encounter in my life."

Echezona hasn't quite decided what she wants to do when she leaves school, but some options she is looking at include; criminologist, lawyer, physio or something else science based. Or possibly a sports teacher. Grace wants to become a Social Worker as working with others and helping those who need support is extremely important to her. She has a passion for working with children and youth, and one day wants to be able to give back to my community in more ways than one.

Very fitting, as that is just what the wonderful trustees of the St Patrick’s Day Golf Classic Charitable Trust are doing and have been doing now for over 25 years – Patrick Flynn, Gary Monk and Bob Nelligan.

NOTE: The name Fianna derives from the band of warriors led by mythical hero Fionn Mac Cumhaill which protected the High King of Ireland in pre-Christian times. Fianna applicants underwent initiatory ordeals requiring exceptional prowess and dexterity. In addition to supreme physical skills, the applicants also needed to be versed in twelve books of poesy.