Ryan Thrupp, Erin Patton, Abbie Just and Caitlin McNulty accept a bursary from Raphael Lodge (Freemasons).
Ryan Thrupp, Erin Patton, Abbie Just and Caitlin McNulty accept a bursary from Raphael Lodge (Freemasons). Ellen Ransley

Future dreams cemented

ROMA'S future got a little brighter on Wednesday night, as five high school graduates received a boost to their future studies, among them an aspiring musician, nutritionist, fashion-designer/lawyer and medical sonographer.

Abbie Just, Ryan Thrupp, Erin Patton, Caitlin McNulty and Katie Barsby received this year's Peter and Joan Pascoe Raphael Bursary from the Raphael Lodge arm of the Freemasons.

The bursary, set up in 2003, boasts a total of $150,000.

Five winners from the Maranoa region each year receive $2000 each to help them move from compulsory to tertiary education.

Born in 1915, Mr Pascoe joined the masonic fraternity after his return from World War II in 1944, and his successful business ventures inspired him and his wife to leave a legacy investment for the young people of the town he called home.

Although Mr Pascoe passed away in 2003, his wife, who now lives in Brisbane, continues to play an active role in the bursary selection process.

Proclamation Master, V Wor Bro John Lethbridge said the bursaries were an obvious choice for the philanthropic couple.

Ryan Thupp, Erin Patton, Abbie Just and Caitlin McNulty with Bretheren from Raphael Lodge
MOVING FORWARD: Ryan Thrupp, Erin Patton, Abbie Just and Caitlin McNulty receive a bursary, presented by bretheren from Raphael Lodge, to support their further education. Ellen Ransley

"It's an amazing legacy.”

The evening's first recipient, Ms Just, plans to study a Bachelor of Medical Sonography.

She became interested in the power of technology, inspired by her own experience with the Roma Diagnostic Centre.

"She was fascinated that it was the least invasive of all medical procedures, but still had the capacity to be inside the body,” Rt Wor Bro Brian Reardon said as he read her resume to the crowd.

"It ignited her passion to help people in need.”

Once she has completed her studies, Ms Just would like to return to Roma and other country areas to share her skills, considering the shortage of medical sonographers in the bush.

Ms Patton, the second recipient, describes herself as passionate about helping people, and pondered a way to do that in her future.

She became fascinated by nutrition and dietetics and found a university course to study both.

"Her desire to help people improve their lives by health and nutrition has been driven in part, by her own family's experiences with medical issues,” Mr Reardon said.

A dual-degree of business and communication in Brisbane is next on the cards for Ms McNulty, who also aspires to study fashion, design and law in the future.

"She is most appreciative of the sacrifices her parents have made,” Mr Reardon said.

"And her determination to succeed will hold her in good stead for her future.”

A passion for music and entertainment has inspired Mr Thrupp to study a Bachelor of Communications with a major in entertainment.

"He would be happy to involve himself in any entertainment sphere, so that he can learn by exposure, and develop his skills as he goes,” Mr Reardon said.

The final candidate, Katie Barsby was not in attendance at the event, but Mr Lethbridge wished her well on behalf of Mrs Pascoe.