Scholarship recipients can help raise standards across school programs

Scholarship recipients can help raise standards across school programs.

At PLC Sydney, scholarship interviews are undertaken by the Principal, Dr Paul Burgis. or a senior college executive. However, that’s not unique to scholarship candidates, says Dr Burgis. ‘We interview all new students, together with their parents or guardian, before they are accepted to the College. We are not only interested in their academic achievement and extracurricular activities, we also want to gauge their social and emotional learning skills and their participation within the school community. It’s very important to us that there is a mutual ‘fit’ between the student, their family and the school.’

‘Boarding bursary and scholarship recipients are hard-working and talented students who may not otherwise have the opportunity to study at the College,’ said Dr Burgis.

Scholarship recipients like 2020 Year 12 student Lily Dai (pictured below) can help raise standards across a school's music program. Lily auditioned for a PLC Sydney Music Scholarship in Year 6. She recalled feeling it was "just like any other performance". No stranger to performing, Lily was at the time part of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music's Rising Stars program and had undertaken concerts each Saturday from the age of nine.

"I come from a musical family, my Mum was a soprano singer, my Dad taught me to play cello from age five and my brother plays piano, so l grew up surrounded by music," she says.

In her final year at PLC Sydney, Lily was awarded a scholarship to The Juilliard School in New York and combined HSC exams with her first semester in Juilliard's undergraduate music degree, which she undertook remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions.

"Going to The Juilliard School has been my dream for many years," she says. Travel restrictions permitting, she hopes to move to New York some time in 2022.

PLC Sydney’s Principal, Dr Paul Burgis, says that when Lily auditioned all those years ago he realised she was unusually talented and he offered her family a scholarship on the spot. "Lily brings a depth of emotion and a maturity to her music that is unusual," Dr Burgis says.

Music scholarships are offered to both benefit individual students and, by doing so, assist other students, he says."The only moral reason I think a school can offer scholarships is so that the scholarship girl can help to 'lift all boats', so that all the other students can see and be inspired by her depth of commitment to learning music and her capacity to play,” he says.

Lily had never played in an orchestra before starting at PLC Sydney, he adds."Every other girl in the school immediately gave Lily the gift of learning to listen to other girls play and, in return, Lily gave them the the gift experiencing excellence."

While musical talent is the most important attribute for a music scholarship recipient, personal characteristics are also considered. "It's very important that a student’s sense of both humility and of enjoyment of playing music, because the music scholarship is not set up as a competition framework," Dr Bugis says. "It's not about who's the best musician, it's about how we can create beautiful music together and serve each other with how we play music."

PLC Sydney offers a wide range of scholarships and bursaries including Academic scholarships, Music, Foundation, Indigenous, Boarding and the Principal’s Scholarship of Excellence.

Scholarship applications for entry into 2022 are now open.