Area students earn bursaries

Three North Okanagan aboriginal students have earned some financial support towards their schooling.

Three North Okanagan aboriginal students have earned some financial support towards their schooling.

They are among more than 300 aboriginal post-secondary students in B.C. who will benefit from nearly $1 million distributed by the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society this year.

Lumby’s Amanda Neufeld earned the award towards her masters at the University of B.C.

Cara Major, also of Lumby and attending UBC, also earned the award.

Vernon’s Nicole Skidmore also earned the award towards her post secondary education at UBC.

The society has granted $985,000 to 303 aboriginal students in B.C. to support their studies at post-secondary institutions throughout the province.

The society’s aboriginal student awards program is funded from the returns on an endowment fund established by the province of B.C. It was created to assist in removing barriers to higher education for aboriginal peoples. Awards of $1,000 to $5,000 each are issued every year through a competitive process to students studying at all post-secondary levels, from trades training to doctoral programs.

“Aboriginal people are a vital part of the future of B.C. and contribute to our diverse, growing and strong economy,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson.

“Awards for 303 students will increase the retention and completion rates for aboriginal students studying at all levels throughout our post-secondary education system.”

Vancouver Island University student Lianne MacWatt understands well the impact the scholarships can have.

“The aboriginal student award I received is enabling me to concentrate on what is important for me: my education. Your generosity has allowed me to be one step closer to my goal, and has inspired me to help others by giving back to my community. I look forward to one day being able to give back and help others achieve higher education,” said MacWatt.

“The Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society is privileged to distribute the aboriginal awards annually. These awards assist deserving aboriginal students, whether they are completing trades training, enrolling or finishing courses for a baccalaureate degree, or pursuing a masters or doctoral degree,” said society chairperson Hugh Gordon.