The call that changed a life

The support of a George Alexander Foundation scholarship came just in the nick of time for one recipient.



Story By

Veronica Apap

At the start of 2018, Bachelor of Journalism student Hollie Wornes, like many students starting university, was struggling to pay living expenses and find a good balance between work and study. She also saw her grades slip as she tried to integrate herself into a new culture.

Hollie had been trying to convince her family that she was not suited for university life and living away from home. Her plan was to move back home to Albury, reclaim her job as a waitress and save money while devising a plan B. Hollie wasn’t sure if that plan would include university. “To be honest, if I had of dropped out of uni, I don’t think I would have ever come back,” she said.

Minutes after speaking with her family, Hollie received the phone call advising that her application for the George Alexander Foundation (GAF) scholarship was successful. The scholarship is worth more than $20,000 over the duration of her degree. “The scholarship literally lifted so much stress off my shoulders financially,” Hollie said.

“It has motivated me to work harder at uni, I want to prove to the GAF community that I am a worthy recipient of this scholarship.”

Through this support Hollie was able to focus on her studies; join the UniLife volunteer community and explore many other exciting aspects of university.

Receiving the scholarship was the encouragement Hollie needed to persevere through the transition to independent living.  “It has motivated me to work harder at uni,”she said. “I want to prove to the GAF community that I am a worthy recipient of this scholarship.”

George Alexander himself was a beneficiary of philanthropy at a young age, which shaped his desire to support and encourage young people from rural and regional areas. Mr Alexander was an immigrant, a farmer, a businessman and philanthropist whose vision and generosity lives on through the Foundation. He was a self-made man who achieved extraordinary things in the face of great adversity.

He was a very resourceful and ambitious person who believed in the notion of planting seeds in the hope they would grow into big trees. He often said the GAF scholars would become his greatest legacy.

For Hollie, knowing there are people and organisations supporting her to succeed has inspired her to set ambitious goals.

She hopes her career in journalism, whether in print, audio or visual form, will teach people how to view the world in a way that would inspire them to make a change. “There is nothing more exciting than meeting a really interesting person with an inspiring story and then sharing it with others and inspiring them to follow in those footsteps,” Hollie said.

On a solo-trip to India, Hollie volunteered in a communal kitchen that fed up to 3000 people a day. It was an eye-opening experience. Witnessing people who had almost nothing, pull together their resources to improve the lives of others taught Hollie that consistent small amounts of philanthropy cause big ripples.

She wants to follow George Alexander’s lead to create an impact in life that will reverberate for generations to come.

Hollie was among five scholarship recipients to meet GAF representatives and share their stories. The scholars, Hollie Wornes (Bachelor of Journalism), Jackson Cocks (Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)/Bachelor of Laws), Joseph Stewart (Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)), Callum Somerville (Bachelor of Mathematics/Bachelor of Science (Physics)) and Tess Shepherd (Bachelor of Laws), all said they were overwhelmed by the support of a strong network behind them, encouraging them to succeed.

Each scholarship is valued at more than $20,000 and is offered to those who can demonstrate community participation, extracurricular activities, good academic standing and leadership potential. George Alexander Foundation scholarships are designed to encourage young people to make choices in life now that can benefit others later.

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