Empowering Tomorrow: Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship Celebrates Future Leaders

By College Relations | October 4, 2023

Mackenzie Lucier and Kendall Pennington from Princess Margaret Secondary, Eva Braam from Summerland Secondary and Ollie Jaques from Penticton Secondary have each been awarded $2,500.
From left to right: Yasmin Thorpe, Kendall Pennington, Ollie Jacques, Eva Braam and Rick Thorpe

The Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship continues to be a launchpad for South Okanagan high school graduates as they begin their educational journey at Okanagan College.   

This year, Mackenzie Lucier and Kendall Pennington from Princess Margaret Secondary, Eva Braam from Summerland Secondary and Ollie Jaques from Penticton Secondary have each been awarded $2,500.   

The scholarship annually champions students who combine academic achievement with community involvement. 

"These young individuals are our community's future. Supporting their education makes a direct investment in the future," remarks Rick Thorpe. 

Since 2006, the scholarship has benefited 85 students, with Rick Thorpe, his wife Yasmin and friends contributing upwards of $180,000 in awards to date. 

Yasmin recalls her upbringing as one of nine children, where nightly family tutoring sessions ensured a focus on learning.   

"This strong educational foundation is why I ardently support education. It’s the backbone of everything,” she shares. "It's heartening to see the passion these students exude. This scholarship signifies our profound belief in their potential."   

Rick’s journey, from a humble beginning as an accounting clerk at Labatt's, shaped by a manager's faith in him, mirrors this sentiment.   

"His belief in me changed my life,” he recalls. “Now, we are paying it forward and investing in the next generation's future." 

The concept of paying it forward is also on scholarship-recipient Jaques’ mind. Recently starting the Kinesiology program at the College, he aspires to get into education himself as a teacher. 

"Through basketball, I've gained valuable lessons from my coaches, not just about the sport but also essential life skills. I want to become a coach myself to give back to the youngsters. This financial assistance I've received motivates me to pay it forward," says Jaques.  

Passionate about helping children, Pennington is beginning her Associate of Arts degree with ambitions of a future in speech pathology or teaching. 

Braam, enrolled in the Business program, wants to use this opportunity to follow in her parents' footsteps and be an entrepreneur making a positive impact on the community.   

"The generosity of this annual award has created a ripple effect in the community and has established a legacy of educational empowerment for our students,” says Helen Jackman, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation. 

The Thorpes and friends also recently took another significant step to shape the South Okanagan and Similkameen's future. In Feb. 2023, they established a $50,000 bursary fund in partnership with Summerland’s Penny Lane Legacy Fund to help bolster the future of health care in the South Okanagan and Similkameen. The Caring for Health Care Students Fund provides financial awards for eligible students studying at Okanagan College’s Penticton Campus.

Tags: OC Foundation



Sign up for weekly stories


Communications student standing outside the Centre for Learning building at the Kelowna campus
Meet Ruth Gabriela Melo Flores

April 4, 2023

Q: What's your name? A: Ruth Gabriela Melo Flores Q: What's your hometown? A: Quito – Ecuador – South America Q: How did you end up at Okanagan College? A: Well, I studied for a bachelor's degree in Law in Ecuador. Then, I worked for a while and got my Master's degree in Government and Culture of Organizations at the University of Pamplona.  When I returned to my country, professional opportunities arose for me. I mean, a Master's degree improved my career. Spain helped me develop ...

Animation student
Artistic students design future careers in animation

June 7, 2022

Grads of Okanagan College’s Animation Diploma program are finding their skills have never been in higher demand. First- and second-year students showed samples of their artwork and demo reels to industry partners at OC’s annual Animation Industry Night on May 17. “Lots of the work was very professional,” says James Wood, Chair of Okanagan College’s Animation Department. “Our program is short, but intense. The instructors make sure the students have a realistic understanding of what they need do to succeed in a competitive and demanding wo...

JAMK campus
OC Business students embrace international study again

May 30, 2022

Business students from Okanagan College are once again able to travel to Jyväskylä, Finland to experience an international summer school at the JAMK University of Applied Sciences.  Finland’s education system is widely regarded as one of the best in the world.  OC Business Professor Blair Baldwin, who has taught Services Design at JAMK for several summers, says working in Finland has helped him innovate and create new teaching methodologies. “JAMK employs experiential learning across its curriculum,” he says. “They stress critical thinkin...

Enactus 2022
Enactus Okanagan College tops the field, sets sights on national championships

May 27, 2022

Okanagan College students will once again be competing for the Canadian title after qualifying for the Enactus National Exposition with a first-place finish in their league during the semi-final round. Enactus teams at post-secondary institutions across Canada competed virtually earlier this month, and Okanagan College scooped up top position in the TD Entrepreneurship Challenge, and runner-up in the Scotiabank Climate Action Challenge for the Unusually Good Food Co. project. It also included national runner-up in Shaw and RBC accelerators...