Ten South Okanagan students will receive a boost to their college fund next spring thanks to the generosity of two local donors whose award fund has provided more than $125,000 in scholarships at Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan over the past 10 years.
“Given that 2016 will mark the 10th year of awards from the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends Scholarship Fund, we wanted to do something special for students of the region,” says donor Rick Thorpe.
The Thorpes have announced 10 scholarships, valued at $2,500 each, will be awarded to qualified students enrolling in first-year studies at Okanagan College in 2016.
Since the fund was established in 2006, more than $70,000 has been awarded to 30 recipients at Okanagan College. The Thorpes have also established numerous awards for students entering or continuing studies at UBC Okanagan where students have received more than $55,000 in awards.
“Looking back over the last 10 years, we are reminded of so many wonderful interactions with students,” says Yasmin Thorpe. “It is always such a pleasure to meet the recipients, hear their goals for the future, and share their in excitement.”
“Yasmin and I feel very strongly about supporting our local students,” adds Rick Thorpe. “Seeing this fund help young people follow their dreams of higher education has been incredibly meaningful to us.”
The Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends Scholarships assists students who are a graduate of, or will be graduating from, a secondary school located on the west side of Okanagan Lake, from Penticton to Killiney Beach, registering in full‐time studies at the College. The award also supports students already enrolled at the College who are continuing their studies. Recipients must be undertaking courses in business, viticulture, agriculture, engineering, tourism/hospitality, trades, technologies, English or creative writing, science, and nursing.
Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director Kathy Butler says many students have reached out over the years to express their thanks and to share how receiving a Thorpe & Friends Scholarship has helped them.
“The sheer gratitude expressed by the recipients, in the form of thank-you letters, emails, photos, and video messages for the Thorpes, is a testament to the impact these awards have had, and will continue to have,” says Butler.
One student on which the award has had a tremendous impact is nursing student Corrie Knapp.
“It made all the difference in the world to me,” says Knapp, who is currently entering her second year of nursing at the College. “It came at a time when I was unsure how I was going to pay for school and manage other bills.
“When the cheque arrived, it was an incredible feeling of relief—I can’t even put it into words how helpful and inspiring it was.”
After this year, Knapp plans to complete the final two years of her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at UBC Okanagan. She hopes one day to put her skills to work in developing countries.
The Thorpes are longtime supporters of Okanagan College. In 2011, both served as Honorary Chairs of the $5-million fundraising campaign behind the construction of the Jim Pattison Centre of Excellence at the Penticton campus; the Thorpes personally committed $50,000 to the project. Yasmin was named an Honorary Fellow of the College in 2012.
The application deadline for the 2016 Rick and Yasmin Thorpe & Friends Scholarships will be March 4, 2016. Students are encouraged to review the application guidelines at www.okanagan.bc.ca/awards or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.