Sydney Harbour, still bustling with a flotilla of tall ships and navy vessels from the International Fleet Review, was the stunning backdrop for the inaugural presentation of the Good Samaritan Foundation Scholarship.
In a marquee on the lawn of Admiralty House, on a beautiful October 8 evening, the Governor-General, Her Excellency, the Honourable Quentin Bryce, presented the scholarship to Kate Touzell, a Year 10 student from St Patrick’s College, Campbelltown.
Looking on were bursting-with-pride parents, Terry and Susan Touzell, and 150 guests invited to honour the work of the Good Sams Foundation, which provides financial support and resources for the ministries of the Good Samaritan Sisters in Australia and the Asia-Pacific.
When asked by The Good Oil why she thought she was chosen to receive the scholarship, Kate responded with disarming candour. “In all honesty, I have no idea. I am just an average person.” She quickly added, “This scholarship means everything, absolutely everything,” particularly given the serious health issues faced by both her parents.
Back in 2010 Kate chose to go to St Patrick’s in Campbelltown because of the opportunities the College held out for her. “I had the idea [the College] would bring me from a girl to a young lady,” she said.
The Governor-General addressed the gathering speaking of her delight in being the Patron in Chief of the Good Samaritan Foundation. “I am particularly happy that the Good Samaritan Sisters support women and children,” she said.
Her Excellency thanked Sister Clare Condon, Congregational Leader and all Good Samaritan Sisters for their impressive contribution to education and their long-term service to the Australian community and the Asia-Pacific region. The Good Sams, she said, were “powerful women”.
She recalled her fond memories of meeting Good Samaritan Sisters in Kiribati and of her joyful participation in the congregation’s sesquicentenary celebrations when she was Governor of Queensland.
Echoing the warm and long-standing association between Her Excellency and the congregation, Sister Clare expressed her deep gratitude for Her Excellency’s ongoing kindness and generosity.
“Even in 2007 the sesquicentenary year of the Sisters’ beginnings here in Sydney in 1857, you planted a Good Sam rose in the gardens of the Queensland Government House,” Clare said.
“Four Good Sam roses,” Her Excellency corrected, adding that they were “lipstick pink” in colour.
Clare took the opportunity to acknowledge current and possible future directors of the Good Sams Foundation and announced that the Foundation was currently in the process of moving offices from Brisbane to Sydney in the hope of providing a more national focus.
“As a Foundation we are small but very focused on the needs of those most disadvantaged. We rejoice if just one person is in a better position because of our connections,” she said.
“The Foundation supports Sisters’ ministries in Santa Teresa, Northern Territory, the Inn for homeless women and children in Melbourne, transitional housing for women and children in Brisbane, and our ministries in Kiribati and The Philippines.”
Referring to the inaugural Good Sams Foundation scholarship, Clare said, “Sisters of the Good Samaritan believe that education is the most powerful social mover in society”.
“Good Samaritan schools, since 1867 have offered and continue to offer an excellent education which is inclusive. If anything they have a leaning towards those who for various reasons suffer disadvantage. Currently there are over 140 Indigenous students in our colleges,” she explained.
Clare acknowledged the generosity of the sponsors of the inaugural Foundation scholarship, Carroll and O’Dea Lawyers and WN Bull Funerals.
Greg Bissett, Managing Director of WN Bull, said that his firm had a two-fold mission and role – that of customer service and giving back to the community. “If you say, what has this [scholarship] got to do with funerals? We say this is something meaningful and worthwhile. It’s a way of giving back to a very important part of the community.”
Lawyer Michael O’Dea concurred. “It’s a terrible loss to have a child with the ability to be educated at a more senior level withdrawing at Year 10 or anything short of what they’re capable of. So we’re only too pleased and proud to be involved in a project like this.”