Six high schools students were awarded Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends scholarships. From left to right: Vayda Poetsch, Shaina Finlayson, Stephanie Legrange, Rick, Yasmin, Meghan Stayberg, Erika Spear, Kyra Marsden. Photo submitted

Thorpe awards help Kelowna teens go to college

Six students were each given $2,500 toward their tuition

Meghan Stayberg is 18-years-old, and has hosted multiple charity fundraisers, developed a leadership training program and holds a black belt in taekwondo.

Her achievements and community involvement recently earned her new recognition – a $2,500 award towards her first year at Okanagan College.

Stayberg is one of six students in the South Okanagan to receive a Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends scholarship. The annual $2,500 awards are given to high school students who demonstrate good grades while contributing to their communities.

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“I was ecstatic when I learned I would be receiving this award,” Stayberg said. “It costs a lot to get through school. This will take a load off my shoulders and will make the transition so much easier for me.”

Kyra Marsden is another recipient of this year’s scholarship, and will be entering the Water Engineering Technology program at Okanagan College Kelowna campus in September. Marsden, who has helped run community events like a haunted house for children in Summerland, says it feels good to be recognized for giving back to others.

“What I love about volunteering is seeing how what you do makes an impact for others,” Marsden said.“This award will help me to relieve stress and let me be able to focus my time more on learning the material than paying for the material that I’m learning.”

Joining Stayberg and Marsden in receiving this year’s scholarships are Shaina Finlayson, Stephanie Legrange, Vayda Poetsch and Erika Spear.

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“Rick and Yasmin Thorpe are making an incredible difference for students by lightening their financial loads,” said Kathy Butler, executive director of the Okanagan College Foundation. “The Thorpe’s contributions to the College and student’s lives are significant, and we’re grateful for their continued support.”

Rick and Yasmin Thorpe, have been giving scholarships to students at Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan for more than a decade.

“We’re always excited about young people because they are the future leaders,”Rick said. “I always encourage students that if they’re ever in a position to give back, to do so as well.”

Each year, the Thorpes host an event where they get an opportunity to meet the recipients and their families in person. This year’s awards ceremony took place June 19.

“Watching the faces of the students and their enthusiasm for starting a new journey that has to do with learning is so wonderful to watch,” Yasmin said. “There excitement is contagious.”

In total, the Thorpes have awarded 59 scholarships with a value of $127,250 to Okanagan College students.

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