Martin Mare (left), Demaine Mare (2nd left), Adine Ponga(centre), Kalyn Ponga (2nd right), Simon Smart - QR National (right) were all excited with today's announcement at Mackay State High School.

Two Central Queensland youths have today been announced the 2012 recipients of the QR National Scholarship Program for the Mackay region.

Mackay’s Kalyn Ponga and Martin Mare, both 13, have been awarded scholarships for the 2012 school year, including financial assistance for school fees and representative football costs, as well as specialised mentoring and Player Welfare training as part of the CQ NRL Bid.

 As a part of the program both boys will be able to stay in their hometown and pursue their academic and sporting goals with the important support network of their friends and family around them. Ponga, who has recently starred for the CQ NRL Bid’s U/13 Development Team will continue to attend Mackay State High School. Mare, who is also a member of the bid’s development team will commence at a Mackay high school of his parent’s choice in 2012. 

 The QR National Scholarship Program provides assistance to Central Queensland youths with disadvantaged circumstances who have shown potential and commitment to pursue excellence in sport and scholastic endeavours.

 QR National Manager Stakeholder Relations (QLD) Tony Lucas said QR National was proud to be playing a pivotal role in providing opportunities for young Central Queenslanders.

“We are delighted to be making a difference in the lives of Martin and Kalyn. Both of these boys have shown great promise and talent in their sporting and academic endeavours, and are very worthy recipients of these scholarships”, he said.

“It’s incredibly important that we not only nurture their sporting talent but also ensure they are equally supported through broader educational and personal development.”

 CQ NRL Bid CEO Denis Keeffe said the program formed a key part of the CQ NRL Bid’s community engagement strategy. 

 “We (CQ NRL Bid) have a key point of difference to the other bids out there and that is our unashamed commitment to community engagement and junior development. When we have our own CQ NRL team it will be truly the people of Central Queensland’s team”, he said.

 The QR National Scholarship Program has now awarded nine scholarships in the Central Queensland region and will announce the final three scholarship recipients over the next month bringing the total to 12 for the 2012 year.

 CQ NRL Bid Community and Business Development Manager Walson Carlos said the program had been very well received right across Central Queensland.

 “We received over 50 applications from all across Central Queensland. The QR National Scholarship Program opens up pathways for young aspiring rugby league players and I get a call almost every day from someone who wants to discuss the future of the program or tell me how great it is for the CQ region.” he said.

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