THE Lindt Café siege of December 2014 horrified our nation and, tragically, it resulted in three deaths including that of mother-of-three, 38-year-old Katrina Dawson.
Ms Dawson was a much-loved and highly-respected barrister.
To honour her life and ensure something good came from such a shocking event, her family and friends established the Katrina Dawson Foundation.
Last month one of the inaugural Katrina Dawson Foundation scholarships was awarded to Kate Field.
The foundation’s aim is to “find and fund” inspirational young women and there could be no more worthy a recipient than 17-year-old Kate.
Across all of her pursuits Kate, a former student of St Joseph’s Aberdeen, has shown outstanding achievements and just as importantly she is a proud and active member of her Upper Hunter community.
In last year’s High School Certificate, she attained an ATAR of 97.95 making her one of Maitland-Newcastle Diocesan top five high achievers.
She is extremely grateful to have been awarded the scholarship which funds her stay at Women’s College at Sydney University for 2016.
Being able to live at the residential college was a game changer for Kate because although she had applied to study architecture and environment at Sydney University the cost of accommodation was causing her real heartache.
“For country students the cost of living in Sydney is just such a barrier for them and I had been looking at places to rent and really there wasn’t much I could afford,” she said.
“One shared room could cost nearly $300 per week – it was ridiculous.”
So for Kate to receive the scholarship means she can now concentrate on her studies and not be constantly worried about finding the money for rent.
“I am very grateful to the foundation as I couldn’t have gone to Sydney without their support. I think it means something good may come from such a horror,” Kate said.
Ms Dawson lived on Women’s College when she attended university and the college’s principal at the time was former Governor General Dame Quentin Bryce, now a member of the foundation’s board.
Kate will soon meet members of the foundation including Ms Dawson’s family.
At that meeting she wants to tell them how important their support has been in her striving to reach her dream of becoming an urban designer, who will work in the Asia/Pacific region specialising in sustainable development.
Her dream has also been sustained by her family – mother Nicola Field, her three brothers and her community including her school community.
Kate moved with her family to Baerami when she was in primary school, attending Denman Public, before studying at St Joseph’s during her high school years.
She praised both the local schools saying they gave her the confidence, support and freedom to pursue all her activities.
In 2014 and 2015 Kate was a state finalist in the Lions Youth of the Year competition.
Horse riding, music, singing and acting were among her interests.
But what made a real difference for Kate was the wonderful support from her small but vibrant community.
“I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my community,” she said.
“Growing up in the country is something very special and I am very proud to be a member of this beautiful community.
“It’s not simply about your academic results; you need to be part of your community to really achieve.”
Kate wanted to thank the Upper Hunter Education Fund for first suggesting she apply for the Katrina Dawson Foundation scholarship and, second, in fully supporting her application.
“They told me about the scholarship in the first place and Meredith Bowman, a fund member, really got things going – so I am very appreciative of their support,” she said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.