The Hastings Education Fund hosted a gala evening at Cassegrains Winery on July 1.
The Fund is a community based committee of volunteers which has as its mission to provide assistance to school leavers as they transition into further education and training.
Chair of the Hastings Education Fund (HEF) Jim O'Brien said committee members share a belief in the power of education to transform lives.
"We are committed to ensuring that all school leavers in the Hastings have the opportunity to pursue their career goals," Mr O'Brien said.
In 2019, the Fund has assisted 37 local students with grants and support. The grant recipients are graduates from the region's nine government and non-government schools. The two main criteria for receiving a grant are commitment and need.
"Students faced substantial costs if they are to pursue further education and training, especially when they needed to move to metropolitan centres. This community does not want to see its most talented school leavers miss out on further education and training opportunities," Mr O'Brien said.
The Fund provides successful applicants with assistance to cover a whole range of education related expenses such as computers, printers, text books, specialist equipment, bonds and rent.
"For many this assistance makes all the difference," Mr O'Brien said.
Last year the fund raised over $90,000 from fundraising and sponsorship.
Special guests on the evening included Mayor Peta Pinson and MP, Leslie Williams.
Hastings secondary schools were represented by principals, Meaghan Cook and Ian Ross from Hastings Secondary College, Glen Sawle from Wauchope High and Stephen Pares, representing St Agnes' Parish Schools.
The highlight of the evening were reports from ten of this year's grant recipients.
The grant recipients who attended were Hastings Secondary College graduates Joe Johnson, Nicole Steer, Tiffany Bartlett, Emily Beard, Nicole Rae and Rebecca Skipworth; Wauchope High graduates Maddison McKittrick and Zac Mason and St. Joseph's Regional College graduates Julia Catajar and Dylan Mason.
These students are studying a wide range of courses including engineering, paramedics, occupational therapy, wildlife conservation, education, nursing, law and social science.
The next major fundraiser for the Hastings Education Fund is a dinner to be held at Port Macquarie Golf Club on Saturday, August 10 with former test cricketer, Gary Cosier as the guest speaker.
Tickets are just $60 per head. The following day is the annual golf fundraiser at the Port Golf Club.
This is an eighteen hole event. The entry is just $20 per player.
The first prize is golf and lunch for four players at The Vintage Hunter Valley.
There is also a major raffle with first prize $1,000 worth of travel and/or accommodation package.
For further enquiries and entry forms for golf contact Greg Christie on 0499 156 664.