BIG DREAMS: Marnie Leahy from Miles, who  studies education externally, was awarded the David Littleproud bursary. She is with South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell.
BIG DREAMS: Marnie Leahy from Miles, who studies education externally, was awarded the David Littleproud bursary. She is with South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell. Contributed

Dream is one step closer for bursary winner

WHEN Marnie Leahy was approaching her senior years at high school, she had no plans for university.

But after gaining experience working in childcare and realising the opportunities it presented, that changed.

It wasn't without its challenges though, from completing a Certificate III and a USQ Head Start course to ready her for university while still at high school, to later working full-time at a childcare centre while doing a full-time university course load via distance education.

Another big challenge for Miss Leahy was coming up with the money to pay her fees each semester.

She was determined to leave university without a huge debt and came one step closer after receiving a $1000 bursary from Mara- noa MP David Littleproud.

Mr Littleproud funds a $1000 bursary each year to a woman living in the Maranoa electorate while pursuing full-time study.

Miss Leahy was the standout applicant this year and, given her determination and drive, it is easy to see why.

"Ever since I was a little girl, this is what I wanted to do,” she said.

"I love everything about working with children, but my favourite part is when my kids go home at the end of the day and tell their parents about everything they did.”

Miss Leahy works four days a week at Murilla Long Day Care and spends a day doing university subjects through Central Queensland University.

She said her employers had been helpful in transferring her to looking after the older children to help her gain the right experience and, at the end of four years of study, she would be qualified to teach Kindergarten to Year 2.

But at $3200 for a semester of study, her goal to leave university without a debt was a pretty tall order, so she said the bursary would go straight to those fees.

"It may not seem like a lot of money but it makes a big difference when you come from a community struggling from drought.”