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Rockleigh student gets rockstar welcome at national scholarship presentation
Rockleigh student Skyla Schmid recently travelled to Geelong with her parents to receive a scholarship and got rockstar treatment.
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Skyla Schmid from Rockleigh juggles part-time jobs with her studies, but she made time to attend a prestigious event near Geelong, Victoria, where she received a $40,000 scholarship — and felt like a star.
Mount Duneed Estate winery is used to hosting rockstars and has held concerts for Elton John, Sting, Crowded House and Fleetwood Mac amongst others.
Ms Schmid and her parents mingled with VIPs at the Order of Australia Association Foundation scholarship presentation at Mount Duneed Estate and were impressed by the positive reception Ms Schmid received.
Ms Schmid said that although she felt anxious being around “lots of important people”, she was made to feel very welcome at the presentation.
“I never felt like such a celebrity,” she said.
“Everyone seemed to know who I was and wanted photos with me and wanted to give me their business cards.”
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Ms Schmid’s proud parents Christine and Wally Schmid travelled to Geelong for the event and sat amongst captains of industry at a table by the stage.
“Ross Adler was at our table — he used to be the chairman of Santos,” Christine Schmid said.
“(Order of Australia Association Foundation chair) Helen Nugent saw Skyla and said, ‘Skyla, aren’t you cold? Wear my shawl. You’re freezing.’
“Skyla made the comment afterwards that it was a Louis Vuitton shawl.”
Ms Schmid’s Order of Australia Association Foundation scholarship will cover many of her expenses for completing a Bachelor of Business (Tourism and Event Management) degree at the University of South Australia.
Ms Schmid said that the scholarship also offers recipients other benefits, including networking.
“One of the points of the scholarship is getting a mentor, so I’ve been paired up with Martin Radcliffe, the CEO of the Adelaide Convention Centre,” she said.
Ms Schmid has already had experience working for events such as the Fringe, the Tour Down Under and the Sydney Film Festival, and she’s now working as an event assistant at Foodie Coachies, a business that coaches hospitality businesses.
Her dream is to continue working in events in the future.
“I would love to manage my own events, potentially events that help the tourism industry … that showcase the state a bit.”
Despite Ms Schmid’s success with the scholarship, her mother says that her daughter remains grounded.
“I don’t think it’s gone to her head,” Christine said.
“We’re very proud of her: she’s always loved school, she’s worked hard for it, she’s well organised, and she just flies though everything she does.
“With all that, when it comes to cleaning the home, she says, ‘Mum, I don’t have time.’”
The scholarship is not the first accolade Ms Schmid has won – she was named tourism student of the year at the 2022 SA Tourism Awards.