Two South Okanagan students in their first year at Okanagan College have received support from the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship.
Taylor Tblus, who graduated from Princess Margaret Secondary School and Jaina Stockmann, a graduate of Summerland Secondary School, both received scholarships worth $2,500.
The scholarships are given out annually and recognize high school students who shine academically while also demonstrating leadership and community involvement.
Stockmann played soccer and baseball. She has also gone to the provincials for basketball and has coached the Lake City Basketball Club for several years.
In her final year of high school, Stockmann, who is Indigenous, suggested that Indigenous students wear an orange honour chord during their graduation ceremony to recognize the lives lost at Kamloops Indian Residential School and beyond.
“It was very meaningful to have everyone at the school support the initiative so easily,” she said,, adding the orange honour chord may become an annual tradition for Indigenous graduates at Summerland Secondary School
Stockmann chose Okanagan College’s kinesiology diploma because it offered a number of different career pathways to choose from, including personal training, physical therapy or a physical education teacher.
“It feels good to be recognized,” she said, adding there is a sense of pride knowing she received the award because of her involvement at school and in the community.
Tblus was raised on a farm and fell in love with caring for animals. During her high school years, she would volunteer in veteranarian clinics with her fascination extending to auditing surgeries. She is studying for an Associate of Science Degree at Okanagan College with the goal of becoming a veterinarian.
“It hurts my heart so much to see an animal hurting but it also gives me joy to know that I can help them,” she said. “This award means so much. I’ve put a lot of effort into school and following my dreams and to know there are other people who believe in me and are supporting my future is amazing.”
The Thorpes held a special awards presentation to meet the students and hear from them first hand.
“We believe strongly in helping young people,” Rick Thorpe said. “We always suggest to young people, who are going to be the future, don’t forget that someone gave you a helping hand and make sure to give someone else a helping hand.”
“It’s wonderful to see you both following your dreams,” added Yasmin Thorpe. “Never give up and please keep in touch to tell us how you are doing.”
Since 2006, 73 high school students in the South Okanagan have received the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship, totalling $156,000 in support of young people pursuing their studies at Okanagan College.
“With such a long history of supporting students we know the impact these awards have on their recipients,” said Helen Jackman, executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation.
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