BUNDLE OF JOY: Jemima Holmes and her baby daughter Aaliyah
BUNDLE OF JOY: Jemima Holmes and her baby daughter Aaliyah

School dux happy she?s back on top

By SAMANTHA TURNBULL

AFTER being denied thousands of dollars and exploited on national television, justice has finally been done for Jemima Holmes.

The 2003 dux of Lismore High School made headlines across the country when she was forced to hand back the $11,700 Nesbitt scholarship in March because one of her parents was not baptised in a Protestant church.

The 19-year-old was pregnant and had just started a medical degree at the University of Queensland.

When The Northern Star broke the story, Jemima was swamped with offers of interviews, including one from Channel Nine's A Current Affair.

"I wasn't keen to do it, so they paid me ...," she said. But she claimed she was "ripped off".

But, all was not lost for Jemima when the Depart- ment of Education announced it was attempting to remove the award from the school's administration.

The 2004 winner, to be announced next year, will be determined by the Nesbitt family trustee.

Trust Group spokeswoman Gabrielle Chapman said the only role the school would play was handling students' application forms.

"At the request of the school and the department, the trustee will assume a hands-on role in the determination of recipients," she said. Ms Chapman said the criteria would remain the same, but changes would be considered in 2005.

Jemima said she was happy with the outcome.

"They've changed the honour board at school and put the real dux up," she said.

Jemima has since been offered an annual $4000 scholarship from her university and gave birth to a baby girl called Aaliyah.



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