Several North Okanagan students are getting a boost in the post-secondary studies.
Awards have been granted to more than 300 aboriginal students from the Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society this year.
Local recipients are: Enderby’s Tia Felix (University of B.C.), Lake Country’s Cara Major and Nicole Skidmore (both of UBC and both previous recipients), Lumby’s Amanda Neufeld (UBC student and previous recipient) and Vernon’s Dexter Robert James and Tikicia Joyce (both of UBC).
“Irving K. Barber scholarship awards are assisting 384 Aboriginal students to advance their education, build careers and take their place as community leaders,” said Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson.
“Aboriginal youth are the fastest growing demographic in British Columbia, and they are an important part of building a strong, skilled workforce in our province.”
The society’s aboriginal student awards program, worth more than $1.12 million, is funded from the returns on an endowment fund established by the provincial government.
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.
“The award has changed a lot for me,” notes award recipient Julia Thielman, a Metis student studying at the University of B.C. in Vancouver, “because it has helped me manage many pressing financial obligations, and being a law student is very expensive”
“Ike Barber recognized the untapped potential of British Columbia’s aboriginal youth,” said society chairperson Ray Gandhi, “and the society that bears his name is pleased to facilitate, in some way, the educational advancement of these very deserving students.”