Class of 2014
We all are aware that the history of human progress is about exploring limits. The Freedom Challenge Race across South Africa, regarded as one of the most challenging endurance events in the country and one of the most demanding mountain bike races in the world, certainly gives participants a wonderful opportunity to explore their own limits
The Freedom Challenge adventure provides many obstacles and challenges. Riders are stretched by the unforgiving navigational challenges, the rugged and often isolated terrain as well as every possible weather condition nature can provide. The FC has cemented its place in the mountain biking community as the soul of mountain biking. Some believe it is more than that, it gives one an opportunity to experience and engage with the soul of South Africa: the rich yet complex history, the social and cultural barriers we currently face as well as the majestic mountains and rugged terrain.
It is no coincidence then, that while mountain biking through these remote parts of South Africa, one can’t help but get an overwhelming sense of social responsibility and an intense desire to contribute something to the communities along the Freedom Trail. Core to this feeling of social responsibility are the many obstacles facing our rural youth and the challenges facing their education.
With youth and education being the agreed priority, the Freedom Challenge Scholarship Fund (FCSF) was established in 2010 as a means for FC participants giving back something to the people along the route. Each year principles from local rural schools nominate students with good academic results that also have a great social need. These students are interviewed by a panel from Maria Zell School and representatives of the Freedom Challenge. Depending on the funds raised that year, a number of students are allocated a 3 year scholarship for Grade 10,11, and 12.
Education at Mariazell is in itself an adventure that provides many obstacles and challenges for our Scholarship Students. Students are stretched by the strict discipline and higher academic focus. The hostel life has its own challenges that students need to navigate. Students need the same ethos and grit shown by their Freedom Challenge sponsors
The FCSF scholarship has cemented its place in the local community as an opportunity to experience a better education. Some believe it is more than that; it gives the rural student an opportunity to dream of a better future. If we can get kids dreaming about a better future and pushing their own limits then we may just be contributing in our own small way