Schol­ar­ship boost for lo­cal stu­dents

Penticton Herald - - LIVING -

Six stu­dents will jump-start their ed­u­ca­tional dreams at Okana­gan Col­lege this fall after re­ceiv­ing fi­nan­cial awards through the Rick and Yas­min Thorpe and Friends schol­ar­ship. Ma­keena Hart­mann, Hai­ley Grunow and Mickella Di Lorenzo Biggs, re­cent grad­u­ates of Princess Mar­garet Sec­ondary School in Pen­tic­ton, along with Ericka Bid­well from Summerland Sec­ondary, each re­ceived a $2,500 Schol­ar­ship for Sec­ondary School Grad­u­ates.

Matthew Iron­side of Pen­tic­ton and Ti­mothy Bey of Prince­ton were awarded with a $1,000 En­trance Award for Trades and Tech­nol­ogy.

“It’s re­ally nice to have help when you are go­ing to school, be­cause costs can be a bar­rier,” says Hart­mann, who had a choice of post-sec­ondary op­tions with a 99.8 GPA. She chose to en­rol in the As­so­ciate of Arts De­gree pro­gram be­cause she was im­pressed by the Col­lege’s rep­u­ta­tion.

“It’s re­ward­ing to see the ef­fort I put into my stud­ies is be­ing rec­og­nized and ap­pre­ci­ated through this schol­ar­ship,” she adds.

In ad­di­tion to the high aca­demic achieve­ment of the re­cip­i­ents, the Thor­pes look for stu­dents who are en­gaged with and con­trib­ute to their com­mu­ni­ties.

Grunow cur­rently works two jobs and has been ac­tively volunteering in Pen­tic­ton to fundraise for dry grad, LGBTQ anti-bul­ly­ing ini­tia­tives and the Pen­tic­ton YES Project. She ap­pre­ci­ates the schol­ar­ship doesn’t just open doors to her ed­u­ca­tion, it will also pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for con­tin­ued vol­un­teerism.

“When I learned I re­ceived the schol­ar­ship I had tears of joy,” says Grunow, who is also en­ter­ing the As­so­ciate of Arts De­gree pro­gram. “Hav­ing the fi­nan­cial bur­den off my shoul­ders means I don’t need to work as much, and al­lows me to pay for­ward the Thorpe’s gen­eros­ity by spend­ing more time giv­ing back through volunteering.”

The Thor­pes have a long his­tory of cham­pi­oning ed­u­ca­tion in the South Okana­gan, and have sup­ported stu­dents at Okana­gan Col­lege and UBC Okana­gan for more than a decade. Since the in­cep­tion of the schol­ar­ship pro­gram in 2006, $102,250 has been awarded to 49 stu­dents en­ter­ing Okana­gan Col­lege.

“The con­tri­bu­tions of Rick and Yas­min Thorpe im­pact our stu­dents in trans­for­ma­tive ways as they be­gin their ed­u­ca­tional jour­ney at the Col­lege,” says Kathy But­ler, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Okana­gan Col­lege Foun­da­tion. “We deeply ap­pre­ci­ate their dona­tions, and the sup­port of our other donors in Pen­tic­ton who pro­vide life-chang­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents.”

Each year the Thor­pes make a point of pre­sent­ing the schol­ar­ships in per­son to the re­cip­i­ents and their fam­i­lies.

For the stu­dents, the level of donor in­ter­ac­tion is a high­light.

“It’s very heart­warm­ing they take the time to get to know each of us,” adds Grunow. “It is so gen­er­ous they choose to do­nate their hard-earned money to help stu­dents fol­low their dreams.”

Spe­cial to the Her­ald

Pic­tured out­side the Okana­gan Col­lege Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence are, from left:Ti­mothy Bey,Yas­min JohnThorpe, Ma­keena Hart­mann, Hai­ley Grunow, Mickella Di Lorenzo Biggs, Rick Thorpe and Matthew Iron­side.

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