Jessie Hawkes-Pearce Scholarship winner supports para-athletes

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Jessie Hawkes-Pearce with John West, Head of School of Business and Computing at EIT, and Cheyne Chalmers, CEO of Ryman Healthcare NZ.

Jessie Hawkes-Pearce is not one to rest on her laurels, with one finger in many pies and already looking to the future after being awarded the Sir James Wattie Fellowship three weeks ago.

The 26-year-old EIT commerce student has won the $15,000 scholarship offered by Ryman Healthcare in honor of the visionary entrepreneur from Hawke’s Bay.

The award was presented by Ryman Healthcare NZ CEO Cheyne Chalmers at a ceremony attended by EIT Business and Computing Schools Director John West, Jessie’s family and friends and residents of the James Wattie Retirement Village.

Jessie shared with residents and guests her journey after leaving school to pursue her dreams – graduating from the NZ Florist Academy, working at an organic cattle station in outback Australia, to running her own business in line selling reusable and plastic-free products. Jessie is also connected with Hawke’s Bay Rotary and is a founding member of Rotoract.

“Jessie is a deserving winner and we hope this scholarship will inspire her and other business students to go forward as future entrepreneurs following their own vision in the footsteps of Sir James Wattie,” Cheyne said.

Last year, Jessie, who was born with one hand, started Team Hawke’s Bay Halberg, a community group for children with limb differences, which she mentors and manages. The team of 12, for youngsters aged 8-21, competed in last year’s annual Halberg Games in Palmerston North, winning the best region overall.

“We were so excited I accidentally dropped the glass trophy and now it’s broken on my shelf,” Jessie said.

The win gave Jessie the impetus to start the charity Disability Sports and Rec Hawke’s Bay (DSRHB), as Hawke’s Bay is one of the only areas in New Zealand without an established para-federation.

“The charity will help enable the growth of the team and support the team going to the games. I want to help. If it’s not me, it will be someone else. I’m proactive and I raise my hand to try new things. I’m very busy all the time and I have to be organized.”

Next week, Jessie will represent DSRHB at Sports NZ Handicap today in Auckland.

“It’s about connecting with others in the industry and deepening our understanding of how best to work collaboratively to implement inclusive practices. We also have a similar development opportunity in November with Paralympics New Zealand.”

This year, Jessie has worked two part-time jobs – interior styling/staging during the week and party styling on the weekends.

“I really love having creative work, it’s really fun. I love my friends and family, they help me every day and I treasure their continued support. And I feel really lucky to be surrounded by so many amazing people.”

Last summer, Jessie’s adventurous spirit led her to spend three weeks at Outward Bound, learning to sail, hike, sail, run a half marathon” and many other activities. outdoors in a team spirit”.

“I highly recommend others have this experience as well. I enjoy being social and having a good work/life balance. I am passionate about health and fitness and combine these areas of my life together.”

She hopes to one day be employed by the newly formed charity and help children with physical disabilities participate in sports and normalize acceptance of various abilities in the community.

“I will use the scholarship money to further my education and plan international travel. It gives me lots of options.”

This is a Public Interest Journalism funded role through NZ On Air

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