The Cootamundra Country Education Foundation helps school leavers to achieve their educational goals.
Applications are now open for 2021 with all current Year 12 students and school leavers encouraged to consider applying for grants to help with educational expenses.
The mission of the CEF of Australia is "to foster the further education, career and personal development opportunities of rural and regional youth, through community-based encouragement and financial assistance."
Last year five successful applicants, all of whom attended university around the state, were allocated $16,600 over two years and in 2020 there were nine successful applicants.
Of these nine school-leavers two are at the University of Canberra, one is at ANU, one is at JMC Academy studying Sound Design and Engineering, two have apprenticeships, one is about to embark on a Cabin Crew Preparation Course and one is taking a gap year before enrolling at TAFE in 2021.
Brianna Hefren is enrolled in a double degree at University of Canberra.
She put her grant from the Cootamundra Country Education Foundation to good use when her laptop stopped working just before semester one.
"I'm so grateful for the opportunities that the Country Education Foundation grant provided me," Brianna said in an email to the foundation this week.
" It gave me such peace of mind that the funding meant I could get a new one, and I wouldn't miss out on any classes or final exams which were all online."
Brianna and her peers were back on campus in semester two.
"Academically I am doing really well, and I make sure I'm learning outside of class too," she said.
"It's disappointing not to have many in-person classes, but I've made a little friend group and - importantly - we all keep each other motivated by trekking (coffee in hand) to the library at 7 every morning".
She said leaving school and living away from home has really reinforced the importance of community to her, especially during this pandemic.
"I've thoroughly enjoyed being a student at ANU, and having access to such a beautiful campus and facilities make it worthwhile even though the work itself is online. Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to journey from Cootamundra to Canberra!"