Fianna Scholarship 2016


Milika and Czar at Outward Bound

2016 Fianna Scholarship recipients

Birkenhead College Students students Milika Walters and Czar Montecillo were the recipients of the 2016 St Patrick’s Day Golf Classic Charitable Trust Fianna Scholarships.

Since 1989, the founding year, the St Patrick’s Day Golf Classic Charitable Trust has applied funds raised at their annual golf tournament (St Patricks Day Charity Golf Classic) to benefit young people and quite often those in need. In 2003 the trustees announced the inception of their Fianna Scholarships. It was decided that each year they would provide scholarships which would enable two young people from the North Harbour region to undertake a three week Mind, Body and Soul course at Outward Bound at Anakiwa in the Marlborough Sounds. This course is well known to provide invaluable life skills which the trustees believed would contribute immensely to the personal growth of these youngsters.

The inaugural scholarshop winners were announced in 2004. They were Courtney Miller of Westlake Girls High School and Paul Hellyer of Rosmini College. Every year since, two students – most often from the same North Harbour school – have received the scholarship and attended Outward Bound. In 2011, following the Christchurch earthquake, the Fianna Scholarships were awarded to four deserving students from that city.

“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, James Greenway.

Milika Walters and Czar Montecillo provided these reports when they returned from the 21 day Outward Bound course which they completed in January 2017.


My Outward Bound Experience – Milika Walters

Outward Bound was a truly amazing experience and one that I’ll never forget. Before receiving the St Patrick’s Day Charitable Trust Fianna Scholarship, I had no idea what Outward Bound was. Watching a few videos on youtube I was instantly amazed at the fun-filled activities that I was about to participate in.

Not being able to travel on a plane previously, flying to Blenheim was my first experience on a plane which was amazing. Arriving at Anakiwa was beautiful and looking around to see where I would spend the next 21 days of my life.

I grew up quite a shy person and struggled in social situations where I didn’t know anybody, so being forced into a watch group of 14 new faces was definitely a challenge for me. One lesson that I was quickly able to learn at Outward Bound was that ‘You are not put through any trial or adversity, you cannot overcome’. This lesson alone was able to get me through the darkest of moments when I felt alone, not knowing anybody or when my body would hurt after hiking for many days or just mental exhaustion.

My favourite part about Outward Bound was Sailing. I had never been sailing before so this was a whole new experience for me. I loved it. The ocean made me feel at peace and also made me appreciate the environment and how lucky I am to experience New Zealand in such an amazing way.

I also learnt the importance of teamwork and how important it was to trust and rely on my team through all my hardships. From a very young age, I had very serious hip problems that resulted in me having many surgeries. I am grateful that I was well enough to even go, but still found it challenging and hard because I knew I couldn’t accomplish as much of the activities as all the other people in my watch.

I was able to truly be grateful for all the people in my group as they all shared my load during our 72km hike.

I would never have been able to go on Outward Bound if it wasn’t for this scholarship. I intend to do everything in my power to get someone that I know will benefit from it, to Anakiwa and through the course.


My Outward Bound Experience – Czar Montecillo

I have never ever heard of Outward Bound until I was called up by my dean, and at that time I thought I was in trouble. I would have never expected to be part of a life-changing experience like this in my entire life.

I was very fortunate to be part of Hillary 625 alongside 13 other amazing watch-mates from different parts of New Zealand and two amazing instructors, Stef and Horey. At the start of the course, this group of people were strangers to me. But as the days passed by, our bonds together grew stronger and stronger. They were my second family. We had a lot of ups and downs as a watch but we overcame every obstacle that was in front of us and we stuck together from the beginning till the end.

Outward Bound pushed me physically, mentally and emotionally which I had expected from the start after watching videos of the course before I participated in it. But my instructors always said that each Outward Bound experience is completely different from one person to another.

My biggest obstacle during the course was missing my family since this was my first time being away from them and I wasn’t used to this.

Outward Bound was the full package – fun, challenging, exciting, exhausting, and many more.

One thing I learned from Outward Bound was to always focus on the present. Our instructors would never tell us what happens tomorrow or what activities we were going to do because they wanted us to “live in the moment” and not worry about what was going to happen next.

We did a lot of outdoor activities like tramping, kayaking, sailing and coasteering. I don’t want to spoil all the activities we did and go to every single detail for the three weeks because I’m sure the Outward Bound organisation wouldn’t want me to do that. Nevertheless, it was one of the best times of my life and I will cherish all these experiences in my whole life. Three weeks seemed like a short period of time, but it was enough to change my life forever.

I feel very privileged to be the recipient of this scholarship and also very thankful for St Patrick’s Day Golf Classic Charitable Trust for choosing Birkenhead College. Its been truly an amazing journey for me which also has changed my life forever. To the sponsors and all the people involved, my school and my family, thank you. This would never have happened without the help of each one of you guys. Thank you very much!