South Pacific Area Scholarship Trust Celebrates Decades of Service by Announcing 2019 Winners

Since 1981, the Quota South Pacific Area Scholarship for Work in the Fields of Speech and Hearing has been awarding scholarships to students working in the fields of speech and hearing. Although operating under a Deed of Trust completely separate from Quota International, Inc., throughout its history, the Trust has been funded by Quota clubs in the South Pacific area, as well as by private donors. The trust is managed by three Trustees and a small committee of Quotarians from clubs in Australia and New Zealand.


2019 Scholarship Winners

The Trustees of the Scholarship Trust have just announced 2019 winners – four recipients who will receive a combined scholarship amount of AUS$16,000.00.

  • Jessica Balfour-Ogilvy and Jennifer Bergman from the Hear & Say Centre in Brisbane, Queensland will share AUS$8,000.00 to visit Centres in the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Spain. Their trip will include giving three presentations at the AG Bell Symposium in Madrid, a precursor to the AG Bell Convention in Brisbane, Queensland in 2020. The conference in Brisbane will be hosted by Auditory Verbal United Kingdom, Western-Danish Cochlear Implant Centre (Denmark), AG Bell International and the Ear Foundation, Nottingham (United Kingdom) and will facilitate numerous professional, local, national, and international community networking and educational opportunities. It will also be an opportunity to highlight the amazing contribution Quota makes to support people with hearing loss world-wide.

  • A scholarship of $5,000.00 has been awarded to Suzanne Hopf of Charles Sturt University, School of Community Health, in Bathurst, New South Wales. Suzanne is an Australian trained Speech-Language Pathologist with dual Fijian- Australian citizenship. She will be meeting with communication specialists in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu on a project to bring together speakers of Pacific Island indigenous languages to ultimately create a functional Word-list for these islands. Such a list will assist South Pacific Area Specialists with the early diagnosis and treatment of communication disabilities.

  • The Sheila Drummond Bursary Scholarship of $3,000.00 has been awarded to Jayne Simpson-Allen, an Auditory-Verbal Therapist from The Hearing House in Auckland, New Zealand. She will use this money to attend the AG Bell Symposium in Madrid to present her paper “Babies: Talk, Sing, Read, Repeat” and/or “Home and Away: Teletherapy for Tots to Teenagers”. This Auditory-Verbal therapist teaches parents to use natural situations to enhance their infants hearing with the aim of learning to listen and speak.

History of the Trust’s Beginnings

South pacific scholarship photo
Governor Sheila Drummond presenting the Charter to President Audrey Cunningham for the Caulfield Club, chartered on November 3, 1973.

It was at the Combined Meeting of the Australian clubs held in Nambour, Queensland, in 1977, chaired by Area Director Patricia Walsh and attended by International President Isobel Sullivan, that a proposal was put forward to establish a scholarship fund. Well-known Speech Therapist Sheila Drummond, member of the Caulfield club in Victoria, proposed an investigation into the feasibility of establishing a Scholarship Trust to support those working in the fields of speech and hearing. The proposal was given the “go ahead”. At the next and first Area Meeting of the South Pacific Area clubs, held in Sydney, Australia, under the chairmanship of Area Director Joan Dooley, and in conjunction with the first International Convention to be held in Australia in 1980, a motion to set up a Scholarship Trust Fund was adopted as well as a motion to appoint three Trustees and an outline for operation. The three Trustees were appointed by the Area Director: Sheila Drummond, chair of the three-member Selection Committee; Audrey Cunningham, an Accountant and chair of a three-member Finance Committee; and Noreen Cloonen, a Solicitor, chair of a three-member Advisory Committee. All Trustees at that time came from clubs in Quota’s former District 38, in Victoria. Joan Dooley, then Area Director, was Ex-Officio to the committee – a policy which continued for a number of years, and was then expanded to be included in the scholarship selection process.

The process of drawing up the Deed of Trust then fell to Noreen Cloonen and her committee, and on May 4, 1981, the Deed was legally signed by the three Trustees. Fundraising began at that time.

The establishment of the legalities and financing of the Scholarship proved to be a complicated and on-going process for a number of years, managed by each current South Pacific Area Director of the time. But in the 1981-82 Quota year, the first Scholarships were awarded to Elizabeth Armstrong from Victoria for AUS$2,800 and to Elisi Netiunarride from Fiji for AUS$752.30.

Committee Membership Expands Beyond Victoria

After Audrey Cunningham and Sheila Drummond resigned in 1988 and 1990, respectively, these initial Trustees were replaced by two more members from Victorian clubs: Betsy Compton as Finance Trustee and Jean Evans as Selection Trustee. The two appointments were made by then Area Director Beth Hogan. For the convenience of communication and because the Deed of Trust was drawn up according to the Victorian Trust Act of 1958, all committee members came from Victorian clubs. However, the Deed of Trust was revised in 2000 and re-written again in 2004 when June Young was South Pacific Area Director, thereby extending committee membership to members from any State in Australia. The current Trustees, Karen Morrison, Christine Ryder, and Barbara McCabe, all from Region 14, aim to have a committee representative from each Quota Region in the South Pacific Area.

The funding of the Trust by clubs in Australia and New Zealand has continued for 38 years, reaching a total today of AUS$325,461, and the work of the Scholarship Trust continues to be administered by a dedicated group of Quotarians. These committed members voluntarily give of their time and financial resources to attend two meetings a year to select the Scholarship recipients. They also attend an annual general meeting to ensure that the Trust Fund continues to serve its purpose: to support speech and hard-of-hearing individuals through the facilitation of professional development opportunities for those working in these medical fields.