Despite limited numbers attending the recent ICMS Scholarship Ceremony at the ICMS main campus in Northern Beaches, Sydney, NSW, technology enabled thousands of students, family and supporters to watch proceedings from around the globe.
The 24 March 2021 event, conducted in accordance with Covid-19 safety regulations, was last held on campus in 2019 before the global pandemic halted social gatherings and closed international borders. The livestream of the ceremony, broadcast on the ICMS Facebook page, was watched by over 2000 viewers from around the world, from Vietnam, New Zealand, South Africa, within Australia and beyond, all sharing in the success of the students who were recipients of life changing ICMS scholarships. Some recipients were able to attend, and some watched from where they were located.
“We are thankful that we can be together in this room, we are thankful that institutions in Australia have been able to resume a form of campus life, bringing the energy and the vibe back, of course while adhering to government protocols,” ICMS Professional Scholarships Chair Ann Whitelock Courtney-O’Connor said.
In attendance at the distinguished ceremony, the 24th in the college’s history, was Northern Beaches Council Mayor Michael Regan, and other representatives of corporate scholarship partners. These included representatives from Accor Indigenous Careers Program, HostPlus, ANZ Corporate, Manly Rugby Club, Wotif, Northern Beaches Council and Stratford Council.
“We would normally enjoy the company of parents and friends but government restrictions prevented that for us this evening, but like I said we are blessed to come together where many countries in the world are still under severe restrictions, many in prolonged lockdowns. Thank you to the tech team for the livestreaming of the event; there are people around the world watching.”
Speaking directly to the students unable to return to Australia, Whitelock Courtney-O’Connor said: “We really wish that you were here. We continue to miss you and we remain hopeful that there will be a change. Greetings to you all from all of us. We hope that you will feel part of this ceremony. Also greetings to staff and representatives that are in other countries on behalf of ICMS. We cherish the support that you give us, especially in this most difficult year that we have had. We are here for you.”
“Although our borders remain closed, at ICMS we are very active with our voice towards all relevant jurisdictions of government in terms of borders; we are constantly advocating about international students and the safe return of them to their studies in Australia as soon as possible. My message is to have faith, we are keeping close to the pulse and when we get good news we will be first to be telling you.”
Mayor Regan also addressed the “audience” of international students directly in his address at the ceremony.
“What a year 2020 has been….I understand we have a lot of people online and people from around the world watching, … thank you for what you are doing and the efforts you are making to get the world back on track but more importantly, I say we want you back, we love you, we miss you, we miss having you down here and being part of our lives down here in Manly. We miss having you around and we can’t wait to see you.”
ICMS Professional Scholarship recipient Sandra Yan spoke as an international student who is also part of the ICMS team as a manager of international development.
“The world, at the moment, is filled with uncertainty and anxiety. Tonight is the night to celebrate hope and the rewards of success. I congratulate all my fellow students on your achievements,” Yan said.
“For those international students who are still overseas, I can’t wait to meet you, and for you to be part of this wonderful city and campus. To everyone watching this stream, and if you are considering applying for a scholarship, please do not hesitate. Just do it, because anything is possible at ICMS and I am proof of this.”
Another student who seized the incredible opportunity the ICMS Professional Scholarships Program offers was Aspiring Education Foundation Equity Scholarship recipient Zac Macdonald, who opened the evening’s proceedings.
“Growing up in a small country town in New South Wales, with my two sisters and my mom, who was a single parent, I didn’t think that I would end up living in a castle on Manly Beach. I am very thankful for my family and we are very thankful for the opportunity ICMS has given me to achieve my dreams and passion in the sporting industry.”
Current ICMS staff member and ICMS alumna Lauren Sullivan related how she was working as a rouseabout in an Australian shearing shed in 2017 when she got the life-changing call that she had not only been accepted at ICMS, but that she had also been awarded the ICMS HostPlus Sport Management Scholarship.
“As an ICMS alumnus, my one piece of advice to you all here tonight is to take every opportunity that arises with both hands. ICMS has given me more than a degree, and it all began with a phonecall in the shearing shed.”
Scholarships awarded either in person or in absentia form part of the growing ICMS Professional Scholarship Program that has, at its heart, the following values: to reward excellence, recognise achievement, embrace diversity and assist disadvantaged and indigenous students access higher education. Scholarship winners have undergone a strict standardised process, including written submission, specific criteria adherence and in depth panel interviews.
Mayor Regan, representing Northern Beaches Council as one of many industry partners behind scholarships awarded on an annual basis, said the partnership with the college was mutually beneficial.
“We are honoured to be here at ICMS. The scholarship program is but one of many things that (ICMS) does so … (we enjoy) an extraordinary partnership (and) we are incredibly proud to be associated with the college,” Regan said.
“Northern Beaches Scholarships are a continuation of a relationship ICMS has had with the council since 2012… we are humbled and privileged to have this college in our community, I can’t stress that enough; as well as to have the students see what Manly is all about.”
To international students awaiting the lifting of border restrictions, Regan said: “We can’t wait to welcome you back. Stay positive. We are doing everything we can to make sure that you get back here from overseas so you can come here and stay with us, learn with us and share with us the experiences of your life.”
The full ICMS Professional Scholarship Ceremony livestream (24 March 2021) can be viewed here: https://fb.watch/4rpH9XKIvA/
For more information on the ICMS Professional Scholarships Program, click here: https://www.icms.edu.au/scholarship/icms-professional-scholarships-program
* Extra information:
Around 120 scholarships worth a combined total of $1.7million were awarded by ICMS, in partnership with industry and corporate partners, over three ceremonies in 2019. In 2017, 55 scholarships were awarded; and in 2018, 82 scholarships, with a combined total of $1.2million, were awarded.
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