From the age of seven, Tara Bowie dreamed of being a writer.
So that’s what she became.
After high school, Bowie studied journalism in Ontario. She worked for several newspapers in that province, including the daily Woodstock Sentinel Review, before moving to British Columbia’s Similkameen Valley in 2014.
She is best remembered locally as the hardworking editor of the Keremeos Review, and reporter for the Similkameen Spotlight and Penticton Western News, from 2014 to 2019.
Bowie was the recipient of numerous industry awards for editorial excellence, in both the east and the west.
She died as the result of an accident on Nov. 6, 2020, at the age of 40.
A bursary has been established in Bowie’s name, to benefit students graduating from Similkameen Elementary Secondary School (SESS).
“Tara was a small-town girl and everything she did was small-town,” said her mother, Nancy Birtch.
“She went to every event there was in town, whether it be at the school, clubs or the chamber of commerce. She was there and would work hard to get the story out.”
Birtch established the bursary fund with the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan Similkameen, to honour Bowie’s love of Keremeos and its people, and to give students at SESS a leg up as they pursue their own dreams.
“My hope with this is to help a student become what they want to become,” said Birtch.
“It may be a little steppingstone but it’s still a steppingstone that leads to where they eventually want to go. Whether they want to be a carpenter or a chef – it doesn’t need to be anything specific, but it just gives them a little bit of hope to make things easier.”
Birtch said it is fitting to create a bursary in Tara’s name because she loved covering the school’s graduation and talking to kids about their hopes. “Her name will carry on. The student may not know who or what Tara did, but they’ll know that someone thought ahead to help them.”
By helping students realize their dreams, it is hoped the bursary will help create more of the kind of stories that Tara loved best – those that had to do with children and young adults, and of people working together to help others, she reflected.
“Tara’s favourite stories really were the ones of the community coming together,” said Birtch.
The bursary will be awarded annually to students graduating from SESS and looking to pursue post-secondary education to improve their lives. Bursary applications open in the spring and more information on the application process and timelines can be found on the CFSOS website www.cfso.net/apply-for-a-bursary.
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