Two local tertiary students were surprised to receive a $15,000 bursary at an annual awards ceremony last Tuesday evening.

The Supreme Award was the new addition to the bursaries the Central Energy Trust already presents for both academic and vocational education. They went to former Awatapu College student Helen Lui, and former Palmerston North Boys High School student Mitchell Kinghorn.

Academic study is an undergraduate degree course and vocational study is towards a degree, diploma or trade qualification. Students must be living and studying in the Manawatu/Tararua at either at Massey University, UCOL, Te Wananga O Aotearoa, International Pacific United or an accredited Private Training Organisation.

Twenty-one bursaries were awarded, 19 for up to $4000 over a three-year period.

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Though the Supreme Award was meant to be reserved for one outstanding candidate, CET chairperson Rod Titcombe says the high calibre of applications made it hard for trustees to choose.

Trustees consider academic results, sport and community involvement, future leadership potential and financial need. A higher weighting on school academic performance was applied to the Supreme Award, and two applications stood out.

"Both candidates were outstanding and the trustees felt both deserved to be awarded equally. After much thought the trustees all felt rather than splitting the award between the two, they both deserved to receive $15,000 each."

Helen is studying towards a Bachelor of Food Technology.

She was in Year 12 when she started to consider a career in food technology.

"Massey University has it all right here," she says.

"The great thing is that it lets you explore both food processes and product development. Luckily I am interested in both so it's perfect for me."

Mitchell, attributed a maths teacher with steering him toward a Bachelor of Science.

"At school I was always drawn to the science-related stuff, rather than the likes of business studies.

"I was fortunate to have a great maths teacher who introduced me to stats and that has inspired my major in finances and statistics."

More information on the CET Bursaries can be found at centralenergytrust.org.nz