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Deanna Miloni wins scholarship in honour of Véronique Sakr

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Deanna Miloni is the recipient of the college’s new Véronique Sakr Scholarship, which will support her tuition from Year 10, which is funded by Véronique’s mother Bridget Sakr, second from right, and her husband Craig McKenzie. Photo: Giovanni Portelli
Deanna Miloni is the recipient of the college’s new Véronique Sakr Scholarship, which will support her tuition from Year 10, which is funded by Véronique’s mother Bridget Sakr, second from right, and her husband Craig McKenzie. Photo: Giovanni Portelli

Deanna Miloni will commence studies at Santa Sabina College in Strathfield next year with big dreams and the support and prayers of the family of Véronique Sakr, a former student who was killed by a drunk driver in Oatlands in 2020.

The 14-year-old is the recipient of the college’s new Véronique Sakr Scholarship which will support her tuition from Year 10, the same year that Véronique was in, up until the end of Year 12.

The scholarship is funded by Véronique’s mother Bridget Sakr and her husband Craig McKenzie, along with business partner Michael Tartak, through their business Quatre Cafe in Strathfield.

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The café, named the French word for four, was opened in July 2022 to honour Véronique and pay tribute to her three cousins Antony, Angelina and Sienna Abdallah who also died in the tragedy.

Deanna said she was extremely honoured at the offer and felt she had been chosen for it by Véronique herself.

“It’s just an absolutely amazing opportunity from Bridget, Craig and Michael and the school,” she said.

“My mum and I were always praying about this, offering rosaries for Véronique just to see if it was meant to be because I knew there were a lot of other applicants, but it just worked out really well and I’m so happy.

“I was talking with Bridget and Craig and they were telling me about how she had wanted to be a lawyer when she was older. And that’s actually the field I want to go into when I’m older, so it felt like we were very connected in that way.

“I felt like she had picked me and I felt very close to her, especially when we heard that.”

Deanna’s mother Chantal said the scholarship is an answer to her prayers about which school to send her daughter to undertake her HSC.

“This really will help me because being a single mum I’m doing the best that I can, but I can see that Deanna has potential,” she said.

“When I saw that there’s a scholarship offer at Santa Sabina I jumped at it, I just felt if it was meant to be then God will give it to us and if not, that’s ok.

“We leave everything in God’s hands.”

Santa Sabina principal Paulina Skerman said that as well as being academically strong, Deanna embodied values dear to the Sakr family and also shared some similarities with Véronique.

“My understanding of Veronique is [she was] a very joyful girl and strong little personality who loved school and loved people. So we were looking for someone who would reflect that kind of joy and desire to be here,” she said.

“Deanna will find her own way and I’m hoping that this opportunity gives her a step up in the world to go and study law and make those kinds of differences and impact that she wants to make.”

Bridget Sakr said she was thrilled for Deanna and overwhelmed at the support of Santa Sabina College and the wider community.

“It’s a God-filled feeling, the reward of seeing a beautiful young girl being selected to carry through Véronique’s legacy to Year 12 and achieve her own dreams,” she said.

“Deanna wants to excel, and the school can really assist her.

“I know Véronique had a role to play with this and it’s very rewarding and a blessing for us as well being part of such an amazing community where we are supporting each other to help someone to excel.

“What more could you want?”

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