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

Food support continues for Vernon students despite school closures

Kids aren’t going hungry thanks to Kal Rotary and Starfish Backpack program

General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The Okanagan Correctional Centre inmate is receiving appropriate care

WATCH: Enderby seniors stay fit in self-isolation

Residents have taken to their balconies to follow along in exercise class

North Okanagan district discourages campfires amid COVID-19

Campfire ban in effect for RDCO but not for neighbour district in the north

Vernon man’s appeal of murder conviction postponed by COVID-19

William Victor Schneider was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Natsumi Kogawa in 2016

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Mitchell’s Musings: Pandemics and parking meters don’t add up

Despite COVID-19 crisis, City of Vernon insists on paid parking downtown

KGH Foundation establishes COVID-19 response fund to support frontline workers

Doctors, nurses and staff have been challenged to pivot operations to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

Emergency services respond to numerous incidents on Highway 1

Today there were multiple semi truck crashes on Highway 1 and a collision by the hospital

Large item collection events cancelled in Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen

Concerns about spread of COVID-19 led to decision to cancel collection events

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Most Read