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Thorpe awards helping students step into College this fall

Okanagan College Media Release

Meghan Stayberg is only 18, but she's already 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.

Thorpe gift

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.

"I was ecstatic when I learned I would be receiving this award," says Stayberg, who plans to become a secondary school teacher. "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,” says Marsden. “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.

“Rick and Yasmin Thorpe are making an incredible difference for students by lightening their financial loads,” says 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.”

Helping young people is meaningful for Rick and Yasmin Thorpe, who 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,” says Rick. “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,” says Yasmin. “Their excitement is contagious.”

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