2009 – Paige O’Raw
Paige was the inaugural recipient of this award.
She has poured her heart and soul into dancing. Paige began dancing with Miss Daphne at the age of four and the Daphne Parker Memorial Scholarship recognises Paige’s determination to be the best.
Paige the ‘obvious choice’ Maitland Mercury, December 2009, EMMA SWAIN
It’s been more than a year since Maitland dance legend Daphne Parker died but Paige O’Raw still carries the love for her mentor around in her heart. Paige was four years old when she started dancing under the tutelage of “Miss Daphne” and now she has been awarded the scholarship in honour of the woman who encouraged her love of dance.
“I was so surprised when I found out I’d won the scholarship. I was speechless and I’m still on the verge of tears,” Paige, 15, said.
“This means so much to me. I feel like I have been rewarded for something I have poured my heart and soul into my whole life.”
The fledgling ballerina was awarded the scholarship following the annual East Maitland Academy of Dance concert. It was the academy’s first concert under the direction of Hungarian ballet dancer Janos Szabo.
“The scholarship is a way of keeping Daphne’s work alive and of acknowledging what she did for 46 years,” Mr Szabo said.
“We are on some kind of passage now, between the past and future, but Daphne’s passion, spirit and her soul is here and Paige was such an obvious choice for this scholarship.”
But this achievement is a bittersweet experience for the Tenambit teenager.
“Daphne was such a big part of all our lives and we still miss her very much,” Paige said.
“But Daphne has made me stronger. Watching her go through what she went through … I mean, she taught a week before she passed away. She was inspirational.”
“I believe in myself now and I never used to.”