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Mt Mee’s Mikayla Crouch takes out Joyce Newton OAM Memorial Bursary

Friday, 1 October 2021

Member for Glass House, Andrew Powell, has today announced the 2021 winner of the annual Joyce Newton OAM Memorial Bursary.

Mt Mee local, Miss Mikayla Crouch, who studied at Mt Mee State School and is currently completing Grade 12 at Pine Rivers State High School, has taken out the $1,000 bursary.  Miss Crouch was one of three successful applicants interviewed by a panel consisting of Mr Powell, Mrs Newton’s daughter – Jennifer Tunley – and the Sunshine Coast Business Council’s Sandy Zubrinich.

“Mikayla epitomises the spirit in which the bursary was established,” stated Mr Powell.


“Joyce was not only my friend, but an amazing community advocate, who sadly passed away in 2018 from Motor Neurone Disease.  She lived and breathed community.  She was passionate about agriculture, about learning, about our future generations and about civic society.  And Mikayla has demonstrated a similar passion!”

Raised on a Mt Mee dairy farm, Miss Crouch is keen to pursue a career in agriculture and environmental sustainability – to show the world that farmers love and care for their environment.  She’s already paired the two, raising money to protect the Glossy Black Cockatoo across the D’Aguilar Range.  Mikayla has also had an incredibly successful academic and cultural experience at Pine Rivers High School – winning numerous awards and serving, this year, as School Captain.

“She’s just like mum!” commented Mrs Tunley.

“She’s confident, compassionate, informed and clearly has an exuberance and love of life that will take her far.  Mum would be so proud to see someone of Mikayla’s calibre awarded this bursary.”

As an indication of just how tight the competition was between this year’s three finalists, the panel has decided to award two runner-up bursaries of $750.

“For that I am incredibly grateful to the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) and Sunshine Coast Business Council (SCBC) who came on board as co-sponsors,” continued Mr Powell.

Mr Leo de Clara of Beerburrum (St Joseph’s Nudgee College) and Chelsea-Ann Johnson of Peachester (Glass House Christian College), like Mikayla, will receive vouchers to Concept IT at Maleny.   

“Leo was immediately likeable, confident, balanced and we loved that he was committed to contributing his university experience back into the region and into farming.  Leo believes his studies in finance and law will ensure future agricultural success in the region – and that’s what FAN is all about!” commented Ms Nicole McNaughton, FAN Communications Manager.

“Chelsea-Ann was also seen as being decisive and knows what she wants to do with her life.  She has a sense of humour and sense of humility, is well-grounded, appreciative of her opportunities and wants to make a difference in the lives of children, particularly disadvantaged children,” stated SCBC Chair Ms Zubrinich.

“All three, Mikayla, Leo and Chelsea-Ann are extraordinary, and we are hoping they will come on board as SCBC Youth Ambassadors.  We’d love their help in pulling together our planned Youth Symposium – but after their exams of course,” continued Ms Zubrinich.

“It is my privilege to award the third Joyce Newton OAM Memorial Bursary to Mikayla.  I also heartily congratulate Leo and Chelsea-Ann on their successes.  I look forward to continuing the bursary and supporting local students for many years to come. Our future is very safe with young people like these,” Mr Powell concluded.

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