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Thank you to everyone who helped the Wenona Foundation raise a massive $160K for means-tested scholarships at the Wenona Sports Lunch last Friday.
Following the success of the inaugural Sports Lunch last year, which raised $100K for means-tested scholarships, the wonderful dads who make up the Sports Lunch Committee were back again. And they were determined to raise even more this year.
Thanks to the enthusiasm, hard work and extraordinary generosity of Neil Schiller, Steve Bealing, David Begg, Matty Lunn, Karl Turner and Carl Peterson, along with Director of Foundation Sonia Brennan and Events Manager Vicky Laforest and all the wonderful volunteers, the Wenona Sports Lunch 2019 smashed its fundraising target of $150K.
The event kicked off at the Kirribilli Club with David Begg as MC. Among the special guests were Principal Dr Briony Scott, Board members Richard Freudenstein, Wallis Graham and Catherine West, Chair of the Foundation Marie Soghomonian, Deputy Principal (School Operations) Chris Zielinski, Chief Operating Officer Andrew Leake, Director of Performance (K to 12) Tom Hill and Head of Sport Ann Osborne.
In her opening address, Director of Foundation Sonia Brennan said, “Some of you may be wondering what it is that the Foundation actually does. Well, quite simply, we make dreams come true. How lucky am I to have this opportunity and to do this job in this community!”
The Foundation, which played a pivotal role in raising funds for the School’s new Sport and STEM Centre that is scheduled to open next year, aims to establish a fully funded scholarship program. This will provide a significant number of means-tested scholarships each year, so that more deserving young women have the opportunity to attend Wenona.
“One of the things I love about Wenona is that every girl is valued and celebrated for what she can do and for where her individual strengths lie,” said Mrs Brennan. “Diversity and inclusion is very important to the School. It’s a message that Dr Scott often emphasises to the girls in our weekly assemblies. We are passionate about the education of young women, and how this is done is continually evolving and growing.”
After last year’s Sports Lunch, guest speaker Mahalia Murphy spoke to Mrs Brennan about a promising Indigenous student, living in Tamworth with her Dad. After successfully completing the scholarship application process and interview, the student was offered a place to start in Year 10 at Wenona this year.
“I know our Director of Boarding would attest to the fact that Jada is an engaging member of the Boarding House community and is extremely grateful for the opportunity she has been given. She is also an extremely gifted sportswoman who is flying the flag for Wenona in Rugby Sevens. We were delighted when she was recently selected for the Australian under 18s Rugby Sevens side,” said Mrs Brennan.
Chief Rugby Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald, Georgina Robinson hosted an entertaining and inspiring Q and A with professional Australian Rugby Union player Emilee Cherry OAM and former Australian Netball Diamond and Sydney Swifts player, Megan Anderson.
The Chair of the Wenona Foundation Marie Soghomonian thanked guests for their generosity, before playing a video featuring different Foundation donors explaining why they choose to support the Foundation in their drive to provide more means-tested scholarships.
Chris Zielinski helped to run a hilarious game of Heads and Tails. And the silent auction and the live auction proved popular, with lots of fantastic prizes on offer including a trip to Aspen, a pair of Berjani diamond earrings and a week at the beautiful Chava Resort in Thailand.
Dr Scott drew the winning raffle ticket after thanking all the guests for their incredible support and generosity.
Mrs Brennan said, “An event like the Wenona Sports Lunch would not be possible without the help and hard work of the extended Wenona community, who donated gifts, bought tables, participated in raffles and auctions, and gave up their time to wrap prizes in the lead up to the event or helped out on the day itself.
So, on behalf of everyone at Wenona, thank you for helping the Wenona Foundation to make dreams come true. Thanks to your generosity and support, we have an opportunity to help even more deserving young women attend Wenona. Thank you. We couldn’t do it without you.”