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Community & Business

11 September, 2023

20 years of CEF celebration raises $10k

By Emily Middleton

In it’s 20th year supporting Gilgandra and district students, the local Country Education Foundation (CEF) held a hugely successful fundraising event over the weekend, ensuring the possibility for support into the future. On the night alone, $10,000 was raised through donations and an auction, a substantial effort from the 80 guests that attended.

“It was absolutely wonderful, I think all the people that attended really enjoyed it,” exclaimed organiser and Gilgandra and District CEF chairperson Joan Staggs.

“Lots of fun, humour, and we had some very great bidding going on with the auction when they started.”

Andrew Schier was emcee for the evening, with Paul Alchin as the auctioneer. Three previous recipients of Gilgandra’s CEF sponsorship spoke on the night of the help and support the foundation gave them during their tertiary education, as well as what they are up to now.

“We had our eloquent apprentice, Michael Raglus, he spoke so well about how we’d helped him buy tools and things he needed for his course, and how he’s enjoying it. He’s about halfway through,” explained Mrs Staggs.

“He well and truly held his own.”

The next speaker was Merinda McKechnie from Bourke, who has been teaching for nine years.

“She spoke so well about the various roles she had taken on at school, how we’d helped her in the first place, how she came from a low socioeconomic background, and how she was able to have empathy with the students out there,” said Mrs Staggs.

“She spoke of how Gilgandra was a great training ground for her, and she was very thankful for the teaching she had over those years and how she’s tried to develop empathy with the kids in the same way that we did for her. She was very complementary about the organisation and the experience she had.”

To finish of the speeches, local medical student Courtney Gale spoke of her journey to becoming a full time doctor. “She changed many times in her course at university to get into medicine. She didn’t get in straight off, and she went into medical science.. and then transferred to physio before deciding she really wanted to be a doctor,” explained Mrs Staggs.

“Finally, on about the third interview at Newcastle she got in. She’s only got this year, then finishes the year at Tamworth, and then goes one year of university and she will become either a GP or a rural generalist.

“She’ll do all her residences in rural hospitals which is what we want. It’s about encouraging country kids to stay in country areas.”

Madeline Burrell was called on by Mrs Staggs, and luckily she had prepared a bit of a speech also outlining her own experience and her work now in country areas.

Catering for the evening was done by Megan O’Conner, and Bree Patton from the Gilgandra and District CEF committee did the vote of thanks.

“It was a really nice night, I think everybody without exception enjoyed it,” said Mrs Staggs.

The committee is very grateful for the support Gilgandra has shown for the foundation, and wanted to give a big thanks to the sponsors and donors for their ongoing compassion.

“Gilgandra is so generous because there’s been appeals for all sorts of things like Jeans for Genes Day, Cancer Fundraisers, Legacy, everything, yet they still came out and spent money for us on Saturday night,” said Mrs Staggs. 

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