Okanagan Indigenous students win awards

Dozens of First Nations students from the Okanagan Valley are named as Aboriginal award winners

Brettany Makuch is a 28 year old Metis student with her sights set on becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner.

She’s moved closer to achieving that goal courtesy of a $5,000 Aboriginal Student Award she’s recently received from the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society.

And so are hundreds of other Indigenous students across the province, including those in Kelowna, Lake Country, Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, Penticton, Vernon, Keremeos and Summerland.

The students are receiving more than $1.3 million in awards from the society that go to Indigenous students in British Columbian to support their studies at public post-secondary institutions throughout the province.

“Receiving an award from the society has been an incredible support to me and my financial situation,” said Makuch who is pursuing her studies at the University of Northern BC, “and has facilitated my current success.”

The Society’s Aboriginal Student Awards program was created to assist in removing barriers to higher education for Indigenous 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.

“Breaking down barriers and opening the doors to education and training for Indigenous students will equip them with the tools to thrive and succeed,” said Melanie Mark, Minister for Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “Education has the power to transform lives. Investing in education opportunities for Indigenous students is aligned with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action that our government is committed to supporting.”

The Indigenous population in British Columbia is growing at more than triple the rate of the non-Indigenous population, with nearly 45 per cent under the age of 25.

Among the local students receiving awards are:

Kelowna

Ashley Lariviere

Richelle Wells

Wade Gable

Brandon Redford

Jade Cowan

Jesse Lafontaine

Julia Thielmann

Kennedy Pederson

Landon MacGillivray

Matt Lafontaine

Sasha Platz

Shenay Craig

Alexander Rousseau

David Lacho

Evan Ayers

Lisa Renaud

Allison Barton

Kyla Shields

Lake Country

Brett Jackson

Laura Mercer

Armstrong

Todd Hoggarth

Samantha Fuller

Coldstream

Jasmine Keller

Keremeos

Alexander Rousseau

Penticton

Khalilikeh Joyce

Eunice Joe

Revelstoke

Amanda Jones

Salmon Arm

Aaren Hajash

Troy Thomas

Summerland

Graham Brownlee

Jordan Johnson

Vernon

Alicia Mitchell

Bonita Noble

Rae-Ann Lawrence

Cody Isaac

Dexter James

Nicole Skidmore

Reece Schroeder

Kara Ross

West Kelowna

Connor Sandrin

Danielle Douglas

The Irving K Barber BC Scholarship Society provides scholarships and awards to students attending public post-secondary institutions throughout the province and internationally. Since its inception, nearly $15 million has been distributed to B.C. students from its six scholarship and award programs. The Victoria Foundation provides administrative support to the Society.

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