Sophie Wilson is one of the recipients of an Indigenous Student Award from the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society. (Contributed)

Indigenous students at Okanagan College receive awards in support of their studies

16 OC students received an Indigenous Student Award from the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society

A handful of Indigenous students at Okanagan College are going into Christmas knowing the financial burden of their schooling won’t be as great next semester.

Sixteen Okanagan College students received an Indigenous Student Award from the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society in December — granting awards between $1,000 and $2,500 to Indigenous students pursuing post-secondary education. Local recipients include Enderby’s Tina William,

In addition, Coldstream’s Stefan Bigsby, studying at the University of B.C., is a recipient. Lake Country’s Brenda Hebert and Aaron Pete, also UBC students, are also recipients. Annamarie Windels, also a UBC student from Winfield, is a recipient. Lumby’s Jenna Mulholland, studying at Thompson Rivers University, has also been awarded a grant.

Vernon recipients are: Shannon-Rose Vickers – Simon Fraser University, Cody Isaac – UBC, Kara Ross – UBC and Yetko Bearshirt Robins – UBC.

Sophie Wilson, one of the recipients, is a bachelor of arts student at the Penticton campus who is transferring into the bachelor of business administration program in the new year, majoring in management.

“This award validates and recognizes all my hard work,” said Wilson. “It means I can support myself and my daughter while I continue to pursue my dreams at Okanagan College. One of the biggest things being a single mother is I always need something for my daughter, and I don’t ever want to worry about not having what she needs.”

Wilson said that jobs through school and other financial issues have distracted her from her studies in the past but this award will let her focus on what matters most.

“My overall goal is to be an active, successful student at school. I can’t do that effectively while working and being a single parent. This award means I don’t have to worry about working right now.”

The 16 Okanagan College students are among 612 Indigenous students in B.C. to receive more than $1.8 million in awards from the Society.

“Ike Barber, and the Society that lives on in his name, have had an immense impact on our students over the years, through awards such as these,” says OC President Jim Hamilton, who is also a former director of the society. “Support such as this not only inspires our students in their studies but hopefully also to contribute to their communities through their knowledge and skills.”

The Indigenous Student Awards program was created to assist in removing barriers to higher education for Indigenous peoples.

“Many Aboriginal students feel it is very overwhelming to be at a higher education institution as there has been racism and discrimination,” says Wilson. “My grandmother and mother suffered this at the universities they attended. I appreciate the work done by Okanagan College that has made it more comfortable and safer for Aboriginal students. I am proud that I can work to my abilities and have a fair chance at success at what I choose to do with my life.

“I also appreciate that as an Okanagan person, I can go to school in my home community on my own Territory. This means I don’t have to leave my support system which means my daughter and I have help and encouragement when we need it. This is something that others suffer from when they must go away to school. I have also been able to be a role model to others in my community by supporting others who wish to pursue their education.”

Wilson is one of more than 1,800 Indigenous students who attend Okanagan College.

A full list of the 2019 Indigenous Student Award recipients can be found here.

READ MORE: Okanagan College nursing students to make history in Thailand

READ MORE: Okanagan College receives 50K to boost students’ tech careers


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Brown Derby’s Mysterioso was one of three entries in the 2020 Armstrong Professional Grilled Cheese Sandwich competition held Tuesday, Oct. 20. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Bakery gets judges’ attention in Armstrong pro grilled cheese sandwich event

Country Bakery’s German Kase Pretzel Grilled Cheese oozes past Brown Derby, Wild Oak Café

A power outage caused by a vehicle crash affected 2,178 BC Hydro customers in Enderby Wednesday night, Oct. 21, 2020. (BC Hydro image)
Vehicle crash in Enderby knocks out power for more than 2,000

BC Hydro crews are expected to arrive by 6:30 p.m.

Ahead of the provincial election on Oct. 24, Enderby residents put their questions to the Shuswap riding’s three candidates: Greg Kyllo for the BC Liberal Party, Sylvia Lindgren for the BC NDP and Owen Madden for the BC Green Party. The candidates recorded their answers in videos distributed by the Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce. (Salmon Arm Observer image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Shuswap candidates answer Enderby’s top election questions

The candidates submitted video responses for an all-candidates forum ahead of the Oct. 24 election

Coldstream Meadows Retirement Community announced Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020, The Lodge will close by February 2021. (Coldstream Meadows Retirement Community)
Coldstream retirement community to close Lodge

Staff to work with residents of the Lodge to find new accommodation

Judy Mallett, a Butcher Boys employee for 44 years, known for her fun-loving nature and fundraising abilities, died of cancer Oct. 4 at age 70. (Photo submitted)
Fun-loving Vernon grocery clerk fondly remembered

Judy Mallett, who worked for Butcher Boys for 46 years, died Oct. 4.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Kelowna Capital News)
B.C. Labour Board orders Peachland cannabis company to reinstate laid-off employees

The B.C. Labour Relations Board determined the employees were laid off due to their plan to unionize

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Two pigs roam the Salmon Arm Walmart parking lot during a prior visit photographed by Danielle Burgi. (Danielle Burgi photo)
Pigs trot over for a visit at Salmon Arm shopping centre

Employees say this was the second drop-in from the temporarily free-range porkers

Penticton law courts. (Black Press file)
Osoyoos man in court for alleged shooting

The Oct. 11 shooting left a man with non-life threatening injuries

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Princeton man on motor scooter refuses to provide breath test to police

The scooter did not have a license plate and was not insured

Most Read