Posted 10 October 2012
Five students from across Ireland have been awarded inaugural entrance scholarships from Harper Adams University College.
Connor Donaldson, from Enniskillen, in County Fermanagh; Lauren Johnston, from Markethill, County Armagh; William Kehoe from Saintkierans, County Wexford; David Thornton, from near Manganey, in County Kildare; and Stephen Shaw from Ahoghill in Country Antrim, recently started their courses at Harper Adams University College.
Following successful interviews in Belfast and Dublin over the summer each student was awarded a scholarship from the Harper Adams University College Development Trust worth £3000 for each year of study.
“I can’t describe what this means to me, I’m so pleased the university decided to invest in me” said Connor Donaldson, 19. He previously attended the Royal Portora School in Enniskillen, where he excelled in sport. Connor hopes his general fitness will serve him well as he has signed up with the Birmingham UOTC, a military organisation that develops the leadership ability, self-awareness and self-confidence of selected students. Connor is studying for a degree in Agriculture with Farm Business Management.
Lauren Johnston, also 19, attended Markethill High School and Banbridge Academy School for sixth form. She first heard about Harper Adams over the dinner table when her dad recalled that his brother, Ian, had spent a year at the University College. So with her mind made up, Lauren applied to study for a degree in Agriculture with Animal Science. She said: “I was really, really happy to be awarded a scholarship and it’s going to be a massive help. I’d like go to New Zealand on my placement year and it might help me with that too.”
William Kehoe, 21, went to Ramsgrange Community School in County Wexford before completing a FETAC Agricultural Mechanisation qualification at Pallaskenry Agricultural College. He then spent five weeks last summer working for New Holland where he met Harper Adams University College graduates who sang its praises. After that he was certain he wanted to go to Harper Adams, and said: “I’m very happy to be here, and the scholarship will help immensely.” William is studying for a degree in Agricultural Engineering.
“I’m delighted to get a scholarship, it’s the icing on the cake,” said David Thornton, 18. David grew up on the family farm and attended Coláiste Lorcáin Post-Primary School in Castledermot. David was set on coming to Harper Adams after attending an open day at which he was “blown away by the atmosphere and facilities.” “It was the only thing I wanted,” said David, who has signed up for the rowing and rugby teams, and is studying for a degree in Agricultural Engineering.
Stephen Shaw, 18, who is also studying for a degree in Agricultural Engineering, said: “I’m over the moon, absolutely delighted to get a sponsorship, it will make things much easier for me.” He went to Ballymena Academy School in County Antrim and grew up on the family dairy farm. Stephen is so used to early mornings from working on the farm he is considering looking for a milking job locally. The Harper Adams student motto is “work hard, play hard” and Stephen has planned for the play side of things by signing up for the rugby team and the Harper Ireland student club.
Catherine Baxter, Secretary to Harper Adams University College Development Trust, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that we’ve had a successful take-up with more than 40 students applying. I’m very pleased we have been able to support five quality students, and I look forward to engaging with them during their time here.”
Harper Adams University College has been attracting students from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for more than 100 years and there is a strong community at the University College today.