Broken Hill brothers – Alex and Clayton Rowbotham – are well on their way to achieving their dreams and making the most of the opportunities offered to them.
The brothers are close – they live together, travel home together and even study the same course at La Trobe’s Mildura campus. The future primary school teachers also share a passion for helping others.
“Teaching is the first real occupation all children are exposed to besides their parents’ and caregivers’ occupations – teaching is a profession that can have a forever-lasting impact on someone,” 21-year-old Alex explained on his reason for wanting to become a teacher.
“Teachers are not simply ‘teachers’, they have the power to model and shape a student’s life, as it may be the only real role model a child may have.”
For 20-year-old first year student Clayton, this inspiration is alive and well and is impacting on his everyday life at university for the first time.
“The environment that university creates, it has been amazing to be surrounded by like-minded people who have similar ambitions to mine,” he said.
Both boys were awarded the Eureka Benevolent Foundation scholarship that is administered by CEF. The $10,000 award is for first-year students from the Broken Hill region.
For them, the funds have allowed a significant financial burden to be taken off their small family, and allowed them to embrace independence, adulthood, study and university with freedom and a sense of confidence.
“Receiving this scholarship has allowed me to have confidence in myself and my abilities. CEF believes that I can achieve the goals I have set for myself – the support means more people have faith and confidence that I will do well which is reassuring and motivating,” Clayton said.
For Alex his scholarship alleviated not only the burdens of financial pressures but the fear it can have over a student out of home.
“It allowed me to settle into university comfortably, I could focus on my studies and come to terms with living away from home,” he said. “I was able to establish myself with things like a fridge, washing machine and bed – the rest of the money was divided between rent and fuel, and textbooks and materials for my course.”
“Without the funds I don’t think I would have enjoyed my uni experience as much, and I feel my results would have been a lot different too. The extra pressure I would have faced trying to look for work would have been overwhelming.”
The Rowbotham brothers aren’t shy in hiding the fact that CEF has helped them with their confidence, and ability to ask for help.
Since using his Eureka-CEF funds Alex has also been awarded another grant by the Chances for Children program that will help him keep his dream of becoming a teacher alive.
“The Country Education Foundation helps regional students access opportunity to further education – who without financial assistance, myself included, may not have had the privilege to further their education,” Alex said.
“The funds truly help individuals get their foot in the door. CEF means I can obtain a degree and do something that I love.”
Clayton backs his brother’s view of CEF’s value and work.
“CEF helps regional students immensely. It allows us with ambitions and dreams to undertake their desired studies, with both social and financial support,” he said.
“It allows regional students to realize that they can achieve their educational objectives regardless of their geographical isolation or financial difficulties. It also allows us to see the confidence others have in us,” Clayton said.