Keen environmental advocate William Goodwin has had his passion rewarded via a Scenic World Scholarship.
It will help lighten the financial load for the 19-year-old as he studies for his Bachelor of Natural Science in Environment and Health at the Hawkesbury campus of Western Sydney University.
For Mr Goodwin, who hails from Faulconbridge, it is a much deserved break.
Sadly, he was diagnosed with dysgraphia and motor dyspraxia from a young age. These neurological disorders affect the coordination of every day physical movements such as handwriting and playing ball sports. There is no cure; treatment can only come through extensive physio, speech and occupational therapy.
In spite of this, William was always a model student at Springwood High School where he was elected school captain. After graduating in 2018, he started his undergraduate degree.
Undaunted by full-time study, he stayed active with both the Australian Air Force Cadets and the Faulconbridge Rural Fire Brigade.
Covering living expenses while continuing his study and volunteering commitments was always going to be a difficult juggling act, and financial considerations were causing him to re-evaluate his level of involvement in these organisations.
The scholarship, which is part of Scenic World's philanthropic program, Scenic World Shared, has eased his mind, offering $7500 each year of his studies.
Mr Goodwin said it was a "massive honour and privilege".
With his degree he plans to find better ways to educate the general public and create awareness for current environmental issues.
"We're potentially facing environmental catastrophes and there are things that the academic community knows so much about, but because the general public's not aware of it there's not much action being taken," he said.
"Having lived in a World Heritage area all my life, I find environmental science a really exciting field to study and this scholarship has opened up a wealth of opportunities for me, for which I'm very grateful."
This is the second Scenic World Scholarship to be awarded, with one available each year until a total of four students are supported at once.
Scenic World's Anthea Hammon said: "Education is a key pillar of the Scenic World Shared program, we believe that initiatives such as this scholarship will leave a lasting, positive impact on our community."
"It's an honour to have the opportunity to support young people like William who are already contributing so much to the Blue Mountains. I wish him all the best and look forward to following his progress through his degree."
Applications are now open for the 2020 scholarship program. For details or to apply visit https://bit.ly/2I9p2Y1.