The 2021 Donnica Clarke Foundation scholarships welcome nine new athletes and nine returning athletes.
They were announced on March 31 at Mingara Recreation Club, bringing the total to 94 athletes from 31 sports who have received a total 180 scholarships valued at $275,000.
The Foundation welcomed two tennis players in Nick De Vivo and Jessica Jeong, who train under the tutelage of inaugural scholarship holder, Chloe Costello.
In the sport of Surf Life Saving, the Foundation welcomed NSW Under-17 Ironman Champion, Ryan Green, who joined fellow Terrigal Surf Club member, Emmy Wheeler, who returns for a second year following a gold medal performance in the Under-17 Flags at the NSW State Championships.
The Foundation also welcomed Sydney Roosters Women’s Rugby League player, Jocelyn Kelleher, Indoor and Beach Volleyball athlete, Jessica Hunter, and gymnast, Haley Prince.
After being awarded the Sport Central Coast Junior Athlete of the Year, Stella Norris, was also awarded a scholarship for her strong performances in the sport of Triathlon.
Water Polo is well represented in 2021 with new athlete, Luke Stimson, joining returning athletes, Lachlan McLeod, Sam Hughes and Aspen Henderson.
With more than 20 percent of 2021 scholarship holders from Water Polo, the strength of the sport on the Central Coast is clear.
Another new athlete, Bethany Kranendonk, from the sport of Long Jump, joined fellow athletics competitors, Katie Gunn, who is also a long jumper, and track Olympic hopeful, Tyler Gunn.
Daniel McLoughlin from the sport of swimming and tenpin bowling powerhouse, Kallan Strong, also return in 2021 along with kayaker, Fletcher Armstrong, in his third and final year as a scholarship recipient.
Scholarship recipients and attendees at Mingara were treated to words of wisdom by special guest, ultra-marathon runner, Pat Farmer AM.
Best known as the only man who has run continuously from the North Pole to the South Pole, his words of advice were bigger than sport, encouraging all in attendance to, “make your life count”.
Donnica Clarke Foundation Alumni, Abbey Willcox, also made an appearance explaining the importance of the Foundation to her.
“The Donnica Clarke Foundation had my back when no one else did,” she said.
As for her advice to all of the athletes in the room, it was simple: “don’t give up”.
The Donnica Clarke Foundation is excited to have all athletes involved and can’t wait to see what 2021 holds for them.
Media release, Apr 1
Donnica Clarke Foundation