St Cuthbert’s Students Awarded Prime Minister’s Athlete Scholarships

Published February 13, 2023

Two St Cuthbert’s students, Jessie Yan (Year 13) and Zara Stewart (Old Girls, class of 2022) have been awarded prestigious Prime Minister’s Athlete Scholarships. Jessie has been recognised for her achievements in Fencing, whilst Zara has been awarded the Scholarship for her outstanding efforts in Orienteering.  

The Prime Minister’s Athlete Scholarships enable recipients to undertake tertiary study and vocational qualifications, as they pursue sport at an elite level. The purpose of the programme is to assist athletes with educational opportunities which will enable them to compete globally, whilst also developing holistically outside sport, with a post-athletic career in mind. 

 Current Year 13 student, Jessie Yan, says, ‘I feel truly honoured to be awarded the Prime Minister’s Athlete Scholarship and am appreciative of the Government’s support for my aspirations.  

“I started fencing as a hobby during the COVID-19 lockdowns but later began competing nationally and internationally. I am now ranked 1st in U17 Women’s Epee in New Zealand. I strive to improve my fencing and my current goal is to train hard in preparation for the 2023 World Cup Cadet Championships in Bulgaria.’ 

“We are extremely proud of Jessie’s fencing achievements. She has reached extraordinary heights, in a challenging sport, in a very short time.” says St Cuthbert’s Principal, Justine Mahon 

 Zara Stewart’s High Performance Sport Scholarship was awarded for her outstanding achievements in Orienteering at a National Level.  Justine Mahon says, “Zara will go down in our College archives as one of the most exceptional sportswomen to have passed through our gates. Zara represented the country in the New Zealand Orienteering team last year at the Australian SchoolsSouthern Cross-Country Challenge, placing 2nd, 3rd and 1st in the three Senior Girls’ challenges.  

 Zara was one of just four additional athletes and one coach to receive the award under the code of Orienteering.  Zara says, ‘I was thrilled to receive a High-Performance Sport NZ Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Orienteering for 2023. It is exciting that the sport of Orienteering is being recognised at a national level.  The scholarship enables me to continue to train and focus on my sport whilst I study at the University of Canterbury.’ 

The girls are in great company, with former Old Girls and talented sportswomen such as Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick, Teresa Fitzpatrick, Katie Doar and Charlotte Penny also receiving scholarships for 2023. 

Both Jessie and Zara have excelled in their chosen sports, and to be recognised by the New Zealand Government for their achievements and talent, is testament to the hard work of both students and their dedicated teachers, coaches and families.