Bentley and students host Canada’s top chefs

chefsEight of Canada's top chefs came to Kelowna and Okanagan College on Feb. 17-19 to compete in the prestigious Gold Medal Plates national culinary competition. As part of an action packed weekend of cooking, the competitors took up residence for two days in the lab kitchen, bolstered by a small army of sous chefs and Okanagan College apprentices and students. Friday saw the chefs work with the students to create a menu of appetizers that had to complement a mystery wine they had been given on Thursday night. The appetizers were served to more than 300 guests at the Eldorado on Friday evening.
Saturday, they were back in the kitchen for a black box competition, organized in party by Chef Perry Bentley, who also served as a judge for the entire Gold Medal Plates event.

More than 30 students from Okanagan College were able to work alongside the chefs during the three-day event. This year’s competition marked the first time the competition was held outside a major urban centre - and it is going to be hosted in Kelowna for the coming four years. For more information about the competition and for complete results, go online to:

Celebrate business at the 32nd annual OBSA banquet  

The Okanagan Business Students’ Association (OBSA) is hosting its 32nd annual business banquet on Thursday, March 24 at the Coast Capri Hotel Ballroom in Kelowna. The event begins at 5 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction, followed by a three-course meal and keynote presentation from The Clodhoppers – Chris Emery and Larry Finnson, creators of Clodhoppers candy.

Chris and Larry will share the story of how they became two of Canada’s great young entrepreneurs, taking their grandmother’s recipe and developing it into a multi-million dollar business. Tickets to the event can be purchased online at: Individual tickets for staff are $69 each. Tables (eight seats) and half tables (four seats) can be purchased for $700 and $375 respectively. 

300 years later, the scheming still works on stage

beauxThe Beaux’ Stratagem was penned more than 300 years ago, but the humour, plot, characters and twists hold up, and the troupe performing this play is as fresh as they come.

Okanagan College’s Red Dot Players are presenting their first-ever production in mid-March, and have chosen a wickedly funny 18th-Century comedy to use for their debut. The Beaux’ Stratagem was originally written by George Farquhar in 1707, and has been adapted by Thornton Wilder and Ken Ludwig (both renowned modern playwrights).

The play tells the tale of two young men who find themselves running short of funds and who settle upon a plan to leave London and hunt for a wealthy wife for at least one of them. The two pretend at being master and servant, switching roles as they move from town to town.

“It really survives as a great piece of comedy, and challenges the actors,” explains director Jeremy Beaulne, an Okanagan College professor from Penticton. “There’s a cynical undertone about marriage that permeates the play – something not altogether unfamiliar in much of this era’s entertainment. Add to that a host of character and plot twists and it works beautifully to engage and entertain the audience.”

The Beaux’ Stratagem opens on Friday, March 18th at 7:30 p.m. in the Okanagan College Lecture Theatre at the College’s Kelowna Campus. It plays Saturday at 7:30 and a matinee is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for seniors and students. Tickets are available at Mosaic Books, Okanagan College’s bookstores and at the door. For more information, contact Jeremy.

Apprentice Chef’s legacy to live on

For those who had the opportunity to work alongside him, Kelroy Munroe was an inspiring and energetic young chef with a tremendous amount of skill and potential. Munroe came to Kelowna in 2007 to study business but soon realized his passion for cooking and enrolled in the College’s Culinary Arts program.

As part of his training he worked at the Cactus Club location in Kelowna. Munroe spent three years apprenticing at the Cactus Club and earned a sous chef position with the company. 

In the summer of 2010 Munroe lost his life in a boating accident. In the time since his passing, his Cactus Club colleagues have worked with the Okanagan College Foundation to develop a scholarship to honour his life and memory. Staff from the Cactus Club Kelowna restaurant have developed an annual $1,000 scholarship in memory of the Jamaican student who had a lasting impact on the people he worked with.

“Kelroy was an extremely well-liked and respected member of the Kelowna Cactus Club team,” said Christy Murphy, Director of Marketing for Cactus Restaurants. “He was a great friend and mentor to his colleagues and it is our hope that his legacy will be recognized through this new scholarship.”

The Cactus Club Kelroy Munroe Memorial Award is an annual $1,000 scholarship for a domestic or international student who has completed the entry-level 10-month Culinary Arts program at Okanagan College and plans to return to complete Level 2 training within 18 months. Recipients will be selected based on financial need and will be in good academic standing. The award will go toward tuition payment for Level 2 training at the College.

Kelowna campus bustling with activity during diversity health fair

diversityThe Centre for Learning was a hotbed of activity last weekend when Okanagan College partnered with Kelowna Community Resources and the AMSSA (the Affiliation of Multi-Cultural Societies and Services Agencies) to host the second annual Diversity Health Fair.

The event featured more than 20 exhibitors providing services and information about overall health and wellness, inclusive of body, mind and spirit development.

The Diversity Health Fair aims to create an opportunity for immigrants to learn about and interact with organizations that promote healthy living. For more information, contact Jane Smith.

Kalamalka Vertigo features Destanne Norris

vertigoKalamalka Vertigo, a joint venture between Gallery Vertigo and Okanagan College, is featuring a new exhibit entitled Destanne Norris: Selected Works from the Embodied Pool Series.

These paintings were completed as part of the phase she refers to as, Inscape, during her Master of Fine Art research project in Hobart, Tasmania.

Norris is represented by Gallery Odin at Silver Star Mountain and by Mountain Galleries in Jasper, Banff and Whistler.

College offers two opportunities to study abroad this summer

Continuing Studies is taking students on the learning experience of a lifetime through the Mexico 2011 Study tour.

The tour consists of three courses: Spanish 111 (Julia Batchelor – Modern Languages), Communications 260 (Marc Arellano – Communications), and Fine Arts 144 (Heidi Maddess – Fine Arts). Students will spend three weeks in Cuernavaca, Merlos, attending classes with Okanagan College instructors at UNINTER (Universidad Internacional). The remaining instruction will be carried out at the Kelowna campus before and after travelling to Mexico.  

Mexico 2011 is an exciting cultural and educational experience for students who are interested in travelling this summer and adding to their academic credits at the same time. More information can be found at

For those seeking adventure in Africa, David Northcott’s EDEN 2011 (Entrepreneurship & Development in Emerging Nations) program consists of one course: BuAd 339, Selected Topics.  

ethiopiaStudents travel to Ethiopia to work with children and adults in partnership with Canadian Humanitarian, an organization that works with NGO partners in Ethiopia. Students gain an understanding of the development challenges in third-world countries that have significant portions of their populations living in extreme poverty.

The remaining instruction is carried out at the Kelowna campus before and after travelling to Ethiopia.  More information can be found at


In memory of Sheila Letendre

Regional Dean John Lent shared sad news with his colleagues this week that Vernon student and Aboriginal Peer Mentor Sheila Letendre passed away last Tuesday.

“Sheila took many classes here,” said Lent. “She was working on her Business Diploma so she could run she and her husband’s company better. Sheila was a genuinely outgoing, warm and gentle person who made friends wherever she went. So many of our teachers and our support staff knew Sheila very well because of her personality. She was only 48 years old.

“Sheila played a big role in our Aboriginal community at the Vernon campus. She was so big-hearted and generous with everyone, and her death will be a real blow to that specific part of our community as well as to our larger community.”

The Vernon campus staff, colleagues and friends of Sheila’s are planning a celebration of Sheila’s life today on the Vernon Campus. Funeral arrangements are not yet known – anyone wishing to express their sympathy can do so through Aboriginal Mentor Marilyn Alexis. 

Longtime health care instructor retires

culverNairne Culver retired from Okanagan College on Feb. 4 after a career that spanned 21-and-a half years. Nairne taught in the Health Care Assistant program (formerly HS/RCA) at the Salmon Arm and Vernon campuses. She began working as a contract instructor in 1989, took a short three-year break to work in the North, and then returned to the College.

Nairne will be fondly remembered by her students and fellow staff members for her warm, caring and compassionate nature. Her expertise as an educator and a clinician strengthened the program and facilitated relationships with community partners. Nairne’s career was celebrated by colleagues at a retirement send off last month. She is seen in the photo on the right with Kelly Linnell (middle) and Cathy Shultz.

Chard recognized as Young Woman of Excellence

allaboutwomenOkanagan College student Charmaine Chard was recently honoured by her community of Salmon Arm as the Young Woman of Excellence. The award, which is sponsored by Okanagan College’s Shuswap Revelstoke campus, recognizes outstanding young women between the ages of 18 and 29.

Recruiting and Events Assistant Leslie Bogula attended the event and said Charmaine was selected based on her leadership skills, achievements and the positive influence she has on her peers. Leslie says Charmaine has shown perseverance, maturity, innovation and compassion. Charmaine is seen in the photo (left) receiving her award alongside awards for Outstanding Woman in Business (Louise Wallace) and the Kay Braby Community Spirit Award (June Griswold).

Spread the Word winners take home prizes

rileyAfter hosting the first ever Spread the Word competition, the Communications department at Okanagan College has selected its top two winners of the contest, which asked students to create original short web videos or posters promoting the Media and Cultural Studies diploma.

Vernon’s Riley Strother took top prize for his entry in the contest. He earned a $1,000 tuition voucher to attend Okanagan College and was presented with a certificate by Regional Dean John Lent and Communications professor Colin Snowsell.

Okanagan College student Damian Weir earned second place in the contest and was presented with a bike from Kelowna Cycle.

Appleton shortlisted for prose competition

Natalie Appleton, who teaches creative writing and business through CS in addition to working as a coordinator and writing tutor at the Salmon Arm campus, was recently shortlisted for the 18th annual Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers.

Her entry, Hair Like Hymn Pages, is based on a family story about one of Natalie’s grandmothers. After a neighbour girl was killed on the farm in Saskatchewan in the sixties, Natalie’s grandmother never forgave herself. She didn't leave the house again until she died years later.

“Growing up, I remember hearing about this grandmother's hair being longer than a horse's tail and gray-yellow, like hymn pages, because she wouldn't wash it or have it cut after the accident. The story is a departure from reality after that, though, and it's told from the perspective of a young boy watching his mother go mad and his family fall apart,” said Natalie.

In addition to her work at Okanagan College, Natalie is a freelance journalist and writer who just completed her memoir, How to Meet a Nice Man from Medicine Hat. She has an MA in creative writing from City University London. To find out more about the competition or Natalie’s entry, read the press release.

Students use newfound skills to bring life to Martin Street

floralFloral Design Certificate students at the Penticton Campus surprised Denise Kurtz, who works at the reception desk at the Martin Street location, with a beautiful basket arrangement to decorate the reception area and to bring a little spring into these last few weeks of winter.

“This is the first time in many years that the Floral Design program has been offered and it was market demand that brought it back into our current offerings,” explained Program Administrator, Lorrie Forde.

College alumnus makes pitch to BNN

Okanagan College School of Business graduate, Matthew Thompson (also son of Business professor Ron Thompson) had the opportunity to present his business concept to a panel of industry experts as part of BNN’s television program The Pitch. Matthew is the Managing Director of ProTranscript, an interactive transcript indexing system for video files online.

The Pitch is similar to the Dragons’ Den where entrepreneurs pitch their business to venture capitalists.  All three panelists said they thought Matthew’s business was very interesting and worth investing in. Follow this link to watch a clip of Matthew’s 90-second pitch. Click on Part Two of 02-16-11.
Mar. 1, 2011 Vol. 4 Issue 23


Access Copyright update

On February 22 and 23, Okanagan College hosted Rob Tiessen of the University of Calgary as he presented two very informative sessions on copyright at Okanagan College. For those who were unable to attend, a recording of Wednesday’s session has been uploaded online (thanks to Mike Minions). Anyone who is interested in viewing Rob’s presentation slides can contact Ross Tyner for a copy.

Wellness InFocus Newsletter

Okanagan College’s Human Resources department is distributing the winter edition of Wellness InFocus, an online newsletter that is produced by Mercer HR Consulting. Wellness InFocus aims to help employees focus on wellness by providing strategies for living a healthy and well-balanced life. Each edition provides tips on making positive lifestyle choices and discusses common health concerns. This issue focuses on steps to self-manage your health.

The next newsletter will focus on achieving a healthy work-life balance - learn strategies to create a healthy work-life balance, reduce stress, and feel better.

Curious about Business?

Okanagan College is hosting an open house for anyone who may be interested in finding out more about educational and professional development opportunities in business at the College. Hosted by Continuing Studies, Distance Education and the Okanagan College School of Business, the event takes place between 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8 in Kelowna in room A125. Please pre-register by calling 250-862-5480 or register online at:

Okanagan College Awards & Applications for 2011-12

Information about Financial Awards for 2011-12 for new and continuing students has been posted on the website - at:

 Please note:  some awards are campus-specific, while others are College-wide (for students attending any campus of Okanagan College). 

For example, students attending the Penticton Campus can apply for Penticton Campus awards as well as College-wide awards.

Students may apply for more than one award. The award descriptions, deadlines and application forms are all available on the website.

Okanagan College Pre-Inventory Sale

Campus Stores is offering a pre-inventory sale for staff and students. The promotion is currently underway and runs until March 11. Receive 40 per cent off clothing and 20 per cent off tradebooks and giftware (some exclusions apply). This event takes place at all campuses.

twittens visiting the Campus Store, be sure to check out the newly stocked Twittens - the gloves of the text generation. Twittens allow users to easily access electronic devices with the thumb and forefinger to allow for easy texting, photography and endless other things - even in the coldest weather. Twittens are available at a cost of $19.99/pair.

Check out the Balance Sheet

Okanagan College’s employee and family assistance program provider PCC Canada has issued the February edition of its regular newsletter – The Balance Sheet. Follow this link to download a pdf of the publication, which includes stress-busting tips, information on how to handle bullying and a top ten list of how to get the best sleep.

50/50 winner announced

Congratulations to Chris Melin from the Physics and Astronomy department in Salmon Arm, who won the Feb. 25 payday draw for $577.50

All Okanagan College employees are eligible to participate in the Okanagan College Foundation 50/50 Staff Lottery. If you wish to sign up, registration forms are available from Dawn Douglas (Local 4774) in the Advancement & Alumni/Okanagan College Foundation office (located in P103, KLO Campus), from Human Resources.


Mar. 2 (Wed) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Vernon)     

Personal Knowledge Management: Software Tools to Help You Cope with Information Overload with Glen Coulthard, Business, Okanagan College (Lecture Theatre 12:30 - 1:20 p.m.)

Mar. 4 – Okanagan College’s 28th annual Spaghetti Bridge Building competition will take place all day at the Kelowna campus. Events get underway at 9 a.m. and will wrap up by 3 p.m. Can’t make it down to watch the action live? Log in to watch a webcast. For more information, visit or contact event organizer Michelle Lowry.
Mar. 7 (Mon) Kalamalka Speakers Series presents “How to Succeed or Fail in Afghanistan” with Wynn Polnicky. The western approach to the troubles in Afghanistan will be examined in terms of lessons from similar historical situations such as Vietnam, Northern Ireland and Malaya. Lieutenant-Commander (retired)

Wynn Polnicky served as an operational analyst on the staff of the Canadian general commanding in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007 and as such helped to evaluate what was possible to achieve and to develop a campaign plan for the Canadian military. Kalamalka Lecture Theatre 12:30-1:20 p.m.

Mar. 10 (Thu) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Kelowna)      
Research in English Writing History with Terry Scarborough, English, Okanagan College  (Lecture Theatre 12 – 1 p.m.) 

Mar. 11 – A social media bootcamp entitled, Eat.Drink.Tweet. will combine education, food, wine and professional development opportunities with a focus on tourism, hospitality and the wine industry. The event takes place at the Penticton campus of Okanagan College and will feature keynote speaker Rick Bakas.

The event will bring tourism stakeholders together to learn about social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. The event will also offer gourmet food and wine sessions to complement the conference. To find out more or to register, visit:

Mar. 11 – Celebrate International Women’s Day from 4 – 10 p.m. at the Rotary Centre for the Arts with special guest Lee Maracle. This event is held in recognition of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and is presented by Okanagan College Women’s Studies, Okanagan College Women’s Resource Centre and the OCFA. The day's plans include Children’s crafts at 4, Judge Ann Wallace at 5:30, Lee Maracle at 7, Gert Beadle Awards at 8:30, plus Metis filmmaker Thirza Cuthand, live music with Carly Yurechko and Natalie Beck, Aboriginal dancers Crystal Prince and Jordan Setah, drummer Mirium Cunha; Krystal Lezard; Brahaha and more.

Mar. 14 (Mon) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Vernon)    

Supporting International Students with Jodi Kokonis and Donna McGrath, International Education, Okanagan College (Lecture Theatre 12:30 - 1:20 p.m.)

Mar. 16 (Wed) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Salmon Arm) 

Supporting International Students with Jodi Kokonis and Donna McGrath, International Education, Okanagan College  (Room 143 12 – 1 p.m.)

Mar. 27 – Okanagan College Half Marathon, 10 K and Relay Race – register online at:

Apr. 7 (Thu) ILLT Lunch and Learn (Kelowna)         

Supporting International Students with Jodi Kokonis and Donna McGrath, International Education, Okanagan College (Lecture Theatre 12 – 1 p.m.)


A surge in the number of women pursuing winemaking and viticulture was featured in an article in the Vancouver Sun. Read more about the emerging trend and how Okanagan College is playing a role in: Wine, women and the growth of a $194-million industry.

The #90 bus from Vernon to Kelowna, which stops at Okanagan College in Vernon, is still in need of an improved schedule according to a student who wrote a letter to the editor of’ the Vernon Morning Star. Read Logan Saunders letter: Bus run cramming ‘em in.

Businesses in Kelowna needing waste management support can come to the Centre for Learning on March 1 to talk to City of Kelowna staff about ideas they can embrace. Read more in: Open house to assist businesses

Amnesty International hosted a documentary film screening of Cocalero last Friday at the Kelowna campus. Read more about film and event in: Film focus on Bolivia’s president.

The Kelowna Farmers’ Market is rumored to be looking for a new home. One location being considered is the KLO Campus of Okanagan College. Read more in: Move in the works to relocation popular farmers’ market.

The Spaghetti Bridge Building Competition among a series of events the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC are promoting to celebrate National Engineering and Geosciences Month. Read more in: Celebrating engineering in our community.

This Friday is the 28th annual Spaghetti Bridge Competition. See a photo of last year’s excitement from the Daily Courier in the Engineering Month feature.

The late Kelroy Monroe, an Okanagan College culinary arts graduate, is being honored through a new scholarship by the Cactus Club to celebrate his life. More details can be found in: Cactus Club honours chef’s legacy and Apprentice chef’s legacy honoured.

The Okanagan Business Students’ Association is hosting its 32nd annual banquet on March 24. Keynote speakers at the event will be Chris Emery and Larry Finnson, the marketing forces behind Canada’s Clodhoppers Candy. Read more in the news brief.

Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of Business, has been elected to the B.C. Certified General Accountants Board.

CBC’s Dragons’ Den held auditions on the Kelowna campus on Feb. 24. Read more about the event and the entrepreneurs who came to audition in: Dragons’ Den auditions Thursday, Dragons’ Den coming to valley, Dragon Chasers, and Entrepreneurs make their best pitch.

Lance Kayfish and Tom Styffe have been re-elected to the College’s board of governors. Read more in Kayfish back as OC board chair.

CIBC has donated $60,000 to bursaries for students in Penticton programs located in the soon to open Centre of Excellence. Read more in: Bursaries.

Alumna Kelly Scott was at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts attempting to reclaim her rink's title as Canada's best curlers, but alas, the rink failed to make playoffs despite an astounding recovery in the last games of the round-robin competition. Read more in: Defending champ opens Scotties on winning note, Scott rink falters, Saskatchewan leading Scotties field, Scott ready for six national tourney, and Jones advances to 4th Scotties championship.

SIFE Okanagan has been working hard to help Okanagan residents in need with their Let’s Can Hunger Campaign. Read about their recent activities in: Kicking hunger in the can, Canstruction event puts big dent in hunger, CANstruction puts a dent in hunger and Canstruction…

SIFE Okanagan hosted the Down by the Bay fundraising event to help send their members to related business events this year. Read more about the event in: Students in Free Enterprise sing Down By The Bay.

Perry Bentley, chef and Culinary Arts instructor, won the Spirit of Kelowna Award for his contribution to the Okanagan Chefs’ Association and his judging in the Canadian Culinary Championships.

Okanagan College students participated in the Golden Plates Championship last week and the Kelowna campus kitchen played host to Canada’s top chefs as they competed in the Black Box competition. Read more in: Chefs chase crown, What’s in the black box?, Canada’s best chefs, and Canada’s top chefs get cooking in Kelowna this weekend.

Alumnus Shane Koyczan headlined the Kelowna Global Citizen Week’s closing event, Global Music Fest on Feb. 26. Read more in: Poet gathering new experiences.

John Vassilaki, Penticton director of the Regional District of the Okanagan-Similkameen, is supportive of the RDOS reevaluating its funding stance on the Centre of Excellence as they did for the Film Commission. He would like to see the organization boost support for the new building. Read more about the situation in: RDOS boosts budget for film industry.

Alumna Mandy Trenholm had a successful basketball career with the OUC and then the UBCO Lakers but had no idea she held an all-time scoring record until it was broken this week. Read more in: Trenholm unaware she held UBCO scoring record.

Registrar Jane Muskens discussed the dismal consequences global youth unemployment and its role in fueling unrest in her weekly School’s In column: Lack of jobs, opportunity fuels social unrest among youth.

Stan Chung, former Associate Dean of Arts and Foundational programs, discussed ideas of personal reinvention in his Global Citizen column, From good to great.


Do you have comments, questions or a submission for INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE?
Please email Public Affairs c/o Christine Ulmer. The next edition of INSIDE OKANAGAN COLLEGE will be issued on Tuesday, March 15, 2011.