Former Matamata College student Kelly Petersen, from Tirau says she had initially enrolled to study dentistry at the University of Otago before she applied for the Hillary Scholarship Programme.
“I’ve always love theatre and I thought to myself, what am I doing here so I applied for the programme and it was the best decision I have made.”
Performing theatre all through her school years, her passion for Shakespeare was born when she was given the opportunity to travel to The Globe Theatre in London as a part of the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand Young Shakespeare Company 2015.
“I love that theatre lets me try on other people’s lives without any of the ramifications of actually living them,” says Kelly.
She completed a double degree at the University of Waikato majoring in theatre and biochemistry and says while it may sound like an unusual combination, her goal is to eventually teach maths and science to dyslexic children through dance and drama.
Kelly who is currently employed by Excite! Music and Arts Academy plans to work for a year before beginning her Masters’ study.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunities I have been given through the Hillary Programme and this medal acknowledges that I’ve taken those opportunities and made the most of them. I feel like I have a real direction to head in now.”
University of Waikato High Performance Student Scholarship Manager Greg O’Carroll said Kelly and Claudia took nothing for granted during their time on the scholarship programme.
“Not only have they both worked exceptionally hard towards their own development they always sought opportunities for ways in which they can give back, not just to the Hillary Programme but through the wider communities that they are involved in,” he said.
“They have made a genuine impact and I couldn’t be happier for them both,” he said.