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