Serena Simmonds

Class of: 2011
School: Henderson High School
Scholarship Partner: Number One Shoes
In the face of adversity and a challenging upbringing this young woman remains positive and motivated to make the most out of life. Serena is overflowing with gratitude towards her Nan, who has cared for her throughout her tough upbringing.

Resilience is a characteristic of Serena's and through opportunities provided to her whilst at secondary school she ihas actively re-learned confidence, effective communication skills and self-belief. Serena was a fine performer in both dramatic and Stage Challenge productions, since 2009 she was part of the YWCA Future Leaders programme, and in 2010 won the Jeweller's award for the time on the Spirit of New Zealand. Academically her strengths are in English, Biology and Drama.

Antonia Davies from Number One Shoes endorsed their scholarship selection with the following comment: "This is our inaugural year of partnering with the First Foundation and we were only going to offer one scholarship this year, however we could not by-pass Serena and Jean-Lee. We see great potential in both and admire how far they have come personally and academically, given the tough challenges life has thrown their way."

Serena graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Science in December 2015 and worked during the summer on a project looking at tui song in the Tawharanui Regional Park. For the next two years she will be completing a masters degree in Conservation Biology working on Norfolk Island.