Finding out that she is this year’s winner of the Cashin Scholarship was rather an emotional rollercoaster ride for Bruce McLaren receptionist Georgia Taylor.
That’s because the news was initially delivered in rather a serious manner by Village Manager Chantelle Hand, leading Georgia to wonder if she had done something wrong!
“She said ‘I need to see you in my office’ and with no smile so my heart just dropped,” says Georgia now laughing at the memory.
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“She called in Riana (Resident Services Manager) and Riffy (Clinical Manager) and asked me if I had applied for something recently and I thought oh my goodness, what have I done now?!
“I couldn’t think and then she asked if I had applied for the Cashin Scholarship so I said yes. And then she said ‘I thought so, because you have WON IT!
“Riana and Riffy were both screaming because they didn’t know what it was all about either! They were all very excited for me.”
Once Georgia had recovered from Chantelle’s mischievous delivery, the news began to sink in properly.
The 19-year-old is about to embark on her third year of a Bachelor in Primary Education and said the $5000 scholarship money will make ‘a lot of difference’ to her.
“It will be a huge help for this coming year. I’m looking at possibly moving out of home as my parents might be moving to Hamilton to be closer to my Dad’s work so that will go towards uni fees and helping to pay off the cost of that and also lessen the student loan.”
She believes part of the reason for her success was how closely her values and goals align with those of the late Mike Cashin.
Mike, who was a Ryman director at the time of his death in 2010, was a huge believer in the power of education to improve lives.
The Cashin Scholarship was set up in 2012 in Mike’s memory and each year his family select the winner for the $5,000 award.
“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher some day,” says Georgia, who is following in her mother’s footsteps. “It’s really important to me to be part of inspiring the next generation.
“With Mike Cashin believing strongly in the purpose of education and wanting to support people, it made me think this scholarship would be well suited for me.”
It’s not just university that has taught Georgia a thing or two.
She has been a loyal worker at Bruce McLaren since she was 15, following on from her older brother Alex and often working alongside her younger sister Madi, and she says the experience has taught her a raft of life skills.
“It’s been a huge growing period for me. It’s taught me a lot of skills that I have needed to mature,” says Georgia, who as well as part time shifts on reception, has worked as a dining assistant and at special events such as the annual children’s party.
“A lot of empathy is needed in this job, and patience, and also you need initiative and to be able to think on your feet. So that’s been good to build on in this time, and I don’t think a standard retail job would have given me the same.”
Georgia says these skills will help her in her future role as a teacher.
“I did find myself getting very attached to residents and wanting to help them all the time but it’s important to maintain that professional boundary and that will be the same when I’m working in primary schools.”
Bruce McLaren Village Manager Chantelle Hand said the whole team was delighted to hear that Georgia had won the award.
“Georgia has been a loyal, hard-working, reliable, friendly and integral part of the Bruce McLaren family for four years. We are so thrilled she has received this award, it could not have gone to a more deserving recipient,” Chantelle said, adding: “The screams from my office when we announced this to her could be heard throughout the village and the accolades have been flooding in from everyone here!”
Mike Cashin’s daughter Lisa Cashin said Georgia’s application stood out to the family.
“We are absolutely delighted to recognise Georgia as the winner of this year’s Cashin scholarship and wish her all the best with her future and look forward to following her progress in her tertiary studies.
“Our Dad would be thrilled to have such a stellar candidate recognised for their efforts,” Lisa said.