Jennie Thomas 'Dreams Can Come True' Scholarship

Scholarship Winners

'Dreams Can Come True'

2011 Benjamin Pettett

2011 Gemma Halbert

2011 Barbara Brodhurst-Hill

2012 Matthew Goodlet

2012 Sharon Boundy

2013 Kelly Peihopa

2013 Mary Price

"Dreams Can Come True" Scholarships

Jennie Thomas has long passionate about the importance of scholarships to the success of ‘dreams’. She knows that first hand. Her childhood dream was to be a teacher, to follow in the footsteps of her Dad and Mum. When she attended Newcastle Teachers’ College in the late 1950s, her training was made possible by a Commonwealth Scholarship. Without that, her tertiary education would have been out of the question and her life would have been very different.

Those government scholarships are not available any more. Now, students without financial backing or who have other major challenges in their lives need the support of the community to give them a chance to follow their dreams, complete their education and make something of their lives. That’s why Jennie is so passionate about the importance of scholarships.

These "Dreams" scholarships aimed to help academically bright students who were facing great challenges. These scholarships not only gave a helping hand financially but also a feeling of worth and self confidence that comes with being a recipient of a scholarship.

Many applicants were people coming back to study after years away from their education for one reason or another. They were determined to succeed this time round. They brought with them a wealth of life experiences to their studies. They were striving to make a difference not just for themselves, but for their families and, in the longer term, for their communities.

Their dreams covered a wide spectrum of occupations; teaching; nursing, physiotherapy; social work; podiatry; speech pathology; engineering; business; science, midwifery, medicine and pharmacy to name a few.

On realising that there were an overwhelming number of applications each year for these Scholarships, in 2011 Jennie worked with the University Foundation to begin a new program of grants called "Shaping Futures". This program needed others to join with Jennie to fund the much needed Scholarships. The format was changed to 'a one off grant' of $4,000 per scholarship.

With this new program in place, the JT "Dreams Can Come True" Scholarships were phased out. Students who need such assistance now should refer to the "Shaping Futures" applications on the Scholarships page of the UoN web site and the "Shaping Futures" page on this site.

The UoN Alumni and the community are urged to join with Jennie and take up the challenge of supporting the ‘Shaping Futures" Scholarships and many have done so, but each year there are always many more students in need. For more of the story of the development of the "Shaping Futures" program and the students that Jennie has personally supported, refer to the page in this website named "Shaping Futures". 

Anyone can help through the UoN Foundation’s “Shaping Futures Scholarship Fund.” Every $4,000 raised will support a grant for another student in need. Donations of any amount are accepted online, by credit card, at

Contact the University of Newcastle Foundation
T +61 2 4921 7453
F +61 2 4921 6889

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