Setting up a deaf youth support group in her local community is just one of the achievements that put Madison Davy ahead of the line for a $5000 scholarship to fund her studies.

The 18-year-old Taranaki student was born deaf and has relied on lip-reading and cochlear implant since the age of 2.

Becoming the winner of this year's Southern Hearing Charitable Trust (SHCT) scholarship last week proved Madison has strived against all the odds.

The SHCT scholarship was set up three years ago to encourage deaf students to pursue tertiary education and Madison was the first female and first recipient in the lower North Island to receive the award.


Madison's mum Kelly said Madison faced challenges every day.

"Communication is always tricky and people often struggle to understand the subtle things ... Madison relies on lip reading and sometimes people forget and cover their mouth or turn away when they speak to her. Environment noise makes it tough, she struggles to hear in a crowded group of people," Kelly said.

But Madison refuses to let it rule her life.

Southern Hearing Charitable Trust (SHCT)'s board chairman David Kent, who presented the award to Madison, said it was inspiring to see many more deaf students transitioning from high school into university despite the challenges they faced.

"Madison has achieved a lot both at school and outside of school ... she was a member of the Deaf Aotearoa Youth Board and set up a deaf youth support group in her community for teenagers and children with a hearing loss."

She was also a finalist in the 2016 Attitude Awards.

This year Madison started a course in Information Technology at Western Institute of Technology in New Plymouth in a bid to start a career in digital media and design.

"I became interested in digital media during high school, I enjoyed it and is something I believe I'm good at. I also enjoy photography," Madison said.

Despite her difficulty hearing, Madison has worked out ways to overcome the barriers.
"Before Madison started WITT, she explained her situations to the tutors and tell them what makes it easier for her to learn," Kelly said.

Sitting at the front of the class, getting the tutors to break down the information and speak as simply and clearly as possible, and providing written notes or online links were just a few techniques that helped.

Kelly said helping and supporting others was just a part of Madison's nature and personality.

"I've been active in parents' support groups over the years and Madison sometimes came along when able, so she learnt young how important helping others was."