It's a dream come true.A local schoolgirl and aspiring fashion designer has been awarded the prestigious Gert-Johan Coetzee Bursary to study fashion design next year.The Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High School matric pupil, Cheline Jenkins (18) from Cleland, managed to defeat many other aspiring fashion designers from all over the country and bagged one of two bursaries on Saturday night.Gert-Johan Coetzee is a South African fashion designer who specialises in red carpet and wedding gowns. Coetzee is a big name in the fashion industry, having dressed many international and local celebrities for red-carpet events.Jenkins said she came across the competition to win the bursary when she was searching for fashion schools to study at next year.She submitted her portfolio two months ago and for the past eight weeks has been undergoing a selection process that included assignments, tests and a personal interview with Coetzee, which Jenkins said was “very nerve wracking”.The top 10 finalists were all invited to the North West Fashion Show on Saturday night where the winners were announced.Jenkins said she took the eight-hour drive to North West with her parents, who were “stoked” when she was announced the winner.Cheline Jenkins (18).“My parents are thrilled. They were both crying when the announcement was made. They’ve been very supportive.“I am the eldest of six children at home so this bursary is a big weight off their shoulders,” she said.The self-taught designer said she has always had a love for fashion and she started making clothes when she was in Grade 8.“This is my passion, I love it. I’ve been selling clothes to my school mates, designing dresses for matric dances and other events like the Durban July, so it’s been like a part-time job for me.”Jenkins said it has been difficult juggling her love for fashion, her part-time job as a waitress and her school work.“It’s been challenging and there have been many sleepless nights but it’s all worth it when opportunities like this come around,” she said.“The best feeling for me is when my clients are happy with my product; it’s the best feeling ever.”Jenkins’ fashion design bursary will cover three years’ tuition fees at the North West School of Design and costs for study materials. She will also receive a Bernina sewing machine (to the value of R45 000), a personal mentorship by Gert-Johan Coetzee and an internship at his fashion studio.