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Hillary Medal awardees announced

8 February 2019

Top vocal performer and Hillary Medallist Felicity Tomkins.

Top vocal performer Felicity Tomkins and netball player Sam Sinclair have been named Sir Edmund Hillary medallists for 2018.

The awards are given each year to two high-achieving graduates from the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship programme – one for sports and one for the creative and performing arts. Worth $1500 each, the medals recognise the students’ all-round excellence: top performances, outstanding academic achievement and exceptional leadership.

Music and science graduate Felicity has been performing for over 14 years. During her time at the University, Felicity’s vocal skills have won her the University of Waikato Aria Competition and the Potential Prize at the PACANZ National Young Performer Awards.  She recently attended the NZ Opera School for the second time, and gained her ATCL Trinity College London Diploma in Singing (Performance) with Distinction.

“Being awarded the Sir Edmund Hillary Medal is definitely the ‘cherry on top’ of my time at the University,” Felicity says. “I felt very fortunate to be part of the Hillary Programme, and being awarded the medal reinforces my achievements as a Hillary scholar.”

Bachelor of Management Studies graduate Sam Sinclair had a successful year in netball, touring the world with the Silver Ferns for the Commonwealth Games, Quad Series and Constellation Cup. The avid netballer was selected for the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic during her first year at university, and she debuted for the Silver Ferns in 2017.

Silver Fern and Hillary Medallist Sam Sinclair.

Sam’s also a recipient of the Step Higher Award and is currently in Nepal, trekking through the Himalayas and volunteering in schools and hospitals. Sam says the opportunities that come with the Hillary Scholarship have been crucial to maintaining her high sporting and academic performances.

“Being a Hillary scholar has been a big highlight of university,” Sam says. “We get so many opportunities to become better people – figuring out our personal purpose, listening to all the great guest speakers, doing public speaking courses, engaging with the other scholars and seeing what they do – it’s great to be part of that community.”

Both Felicity and Sam will return to Waikato University this year to begin postgraduate qualifications.  Felicity will to do an honours year for her Bachelor of Music and Sam will study for a Postgraduate Certificate in Leadership Communication. Their Hillary medals will be presented at the Hillary Induction Day this month.


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