Students win Good Start Foundation scholarships

Good times – from left, Charis Prins, Good Start Foundation founder, CEO Michelle Prasad and Sonali Patel.

Two Edgewater College students have won scholarships offered by the Good Start Foundation.

Charis Prins and Sonali Patel were each awarded $2500 which can go towards study fees or course-related equipment.

They are the foundation’s first scholarship recipients.

Prins was head girl and was proxime accessit of Edgewater College in 2021. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Science at the University of Auckland

Michelle Prasad, founder and CEO of The Good Start Foundation, said the reason Prins received a scholarship was because “she is a selfless young person always putting everyone else ahead of herself”.

“Apart from an outstanding student, she is also an active volunteer in the community.”

Her volunteering activities include, beach clean-ups, bird conservation, killing weeds in east Auckland and being part of the Middlemore Foundation where she crochets blankets for babies.

“She intends to volunteer on Great Barrier Island as a kitchen hand, volunteer for food banks and animal care,” Prasad said.

Meanwhile Patel was leader of the Pastoral Committee Edgewater College in 2021 and is currently studying a Bachelor of Education at AUT (speciality in primary teaching).

“Sonali is all about respect and perseverance. She was on the Howick Youth Council in 2021 where she delivered a range of projects to represent, develop and connect the young people of east Auckland,” Prasad said.

“She is a highly committed volunteer, she volunteers for food banks, rest homes, church groups and for homeless shelters.”

The Good Start Foundation was founded by Prasad who attended Edgewater College in late 2020.

She was named head girl, achieved excellent grades, founded her own company, received distinguished awards and was still rejected for multiple scholarship opportunities.

This inspired her to start the Good Start Foundation to help students who do so much for their community but don’t have the financial security and means to study further.

She founded Kiwi Essence in 2018 with friends when she was attending Edgewater College in 2019. She carried it forward into 2020.

Kiwi Essence won multiple awards – the YES (Young Enterprise Scheme) Excellence in Product Design for the East Auckland Region and Excellence in Perseverance Category in the East Auckland Region Awards. She also assisted in the company’s inclusion in the EA Region Top 8 YES Companies list.

The next scholarships will not just target Edgewater College students. Prasad plans to open them up to students from the wider east/south Auckland area. “Last year I only opened it up to Edgewater, it was a way to give back to my former school,” she said.