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Scholarship winner announced 7 January 2008

KIRSTY Pendlebury, of Fistard Grove, Port St Mary, is the winner of this year’s Ella Olesen Scholarship.

Kirsty, 22, will follow a long line of local students in spending nine months among the 12,000 students at Idaho University in the USA from this summer.

The scholarship is the legacy of the late Miss Ella Olesen, a former registrar of the university. Her Manx ancestry led her to gift the scholarship, awarded annually to a female graduate who has been supported through her studies by the Department of Education.

Kirsty started her education at Arbory Primary School and then attended Castle Rushen High School, achieving 11 GCSEs, 3 AS-levels and 3 A-levels. She is now in her final year of studies for a BSc degree in Meteorology at Reading University, where she is undertaking a project on climate change in her native Isle of Man.

She is now excitedly studying the prospectus ahead of starting at Idaho University in August, but is already hoping to revive her dancing, something she has forsaken to concentrate on her studies.

Kirsty, who is a past member of the Manx Youth Orchestra, said she felt ‘very honoured’ that the Department had selected her from the short-listed candidates.

‘I think that the scholarship is a fantastic opportunity for Manx students to visit somewhere that is such a contrast from our Island and, although I will always call the Isle of Man home and be very proud of that, I will be privileged to represent the Island,’ she said.
‘I feel very honoured that the Department has chosen me to be an ambassador for the Island in Idaho. I thoroughly look forward to the experience and the chance to put the Isle of Man on the map. I am still learning about Idaho and what awaits me and feel very excited about the prospect of going.’

Kirsty added:

‘I have received e-mails from previous scholars, which I have found very supportive. I am particularly looking forward to looking at weather and climate from a different perspective and I hope that this trip will help to enhance my knowledge of world weather and the possibilities of climate change.’

On the interview panel for this year’s scholarship were Director of Education John Cain and Manager of Legal and Administrative Services John Gill.

Current scholarship holder Natalie Evans, of Ballacriy Park, Colby, another former Castle Rushen High School student, began studying in Idaho last August and will be there until May. The 21-year-old, who plans a career in events management, last semester travelled to Las Vegas, Canada and New York and is learning Spanish. She is taking an internship with her college’s campus services and hopes to be involved in running its well known jazz festival.

Natalie said:

‘I feel so fortunate to have been given this unique opportunity. I am proud to be an ambassador for the Isle of Man. It has been a truly life-changing experience. I have developed my skills, travelled and made lifelong friends. ‘I am truly grateful for all the support I have been given since I have been in Idaho and I would like to say a big thank you.’

Kirsty can expect a warm welcome from two former neighbours of Miss Olesen, who will help her settle into her new home. Duane and Phyllis LeTourneau traditionally meet the new scholar each year at the airport and initially provide a home away from home, which is very welcoming. They have provided this comfort for 40 Manx girls over the years.

After staying with Duane and Phyllis for a few days, Kirsty will probably move into university accommodation. The Global Village accommodation has been chosen by scholars for the past three academic years as it is newly built and provides an excellent opportunity to live with both international and American students.

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