Thorpe awards recognize students with strong sense of purpose
Two South Okanagan students starting their first year at Okanagan College received a boost of support to help them follow their passions into post-secondary.
Taylor Tblus, who graduated from Princess Margaret Secondary School, and Jaina Stockmann, a graduate of Summerland Secondary School, both received a $2,500 Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship.
The scholarships are given out annually and recognize high school students who shine academically while also demonstrating leadership and community involvement.
Both Stockmann and Tblus discovered their interests at a young age.
Stockmann played soccer and baseball and never took her eyes off the ball. She’s gone to the provincials for basketball and has coached the Lake City Basketball Club for several years.
While in her final high school year, Stockmann, who is Indigenous, suggested that Indigenous students adorn an orange honour chord during their graduation ceremony to recognize the lives lost at Kamloops Indian Residential School and beyond.
“It was very meaningful to have everyone at the school support the initiative so easily,” recalls Stockmann, adding the orange honour chord may become an annual tradition for Indigenous graduates at Summerland Secondary.
Stockmann chose OC's Kinesiology Diploma because it offered a number of different career pathways to choose from, including personal training, physical therapy or a physical education teacher.
“It feels good to be recognized,” says Stockmann, adding there is a sense of pride knowing she received the award because of her involvement at school and in the community.
“I got my first job in Grade 8 and have been working ever since. COVID-19 made it difficult to keep working in order to pay for college so this award will help me pay for some of my tuition and my books.”
Tblus was raised on a farm and fell in love with caring for animals. During her high school years, she would volunteer in vet clinics with her fascination even extending to auditing surgeries.
Tblus is studying for an Associate of Science Degree at the College with the goal of becoming a veterinarian.
“It hurts my heart so much to see an animal hurting but it also gives me joy to know that I can help them,” says Tblus.
“This award means so much. I’ve put a lot of effort into school and following my dreams and to know there are other people who believe in me and are supporting my future is amazing.”
The Thorpes held a special awards presentation to meet the students and hear from them first hand.
“We believe strongly in helping young people,” says Rick. “We always suggest to young people, who are going to be the future, don't forget that someone gave you a helping hand and make sure to give someone else a helping hand.”
Yasmin adds, “It's wonderful to see you both following your dreams. Never give up and please keep in touch to tell us how you are doing.”
Since 2006, 73 high school students in the South Okanagan have received the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Scholarship totalling $156,000 in support of young people pursuing their studies at Okanagan College.
“With such a long history of supporting students we know the impact these awards have on their recipients,” says Helen Jackman, Okanagan College Foundation Executive Director.
“From easing the financial costs of school to bolstering confidence and belief in themselves, a diverse number of students have benefitted from Rick, Yasmin and their friends’ incredible generosity. Thank you for investing in our future leaders.”
Tags: Kinesiology, Science University Studies, OC Foundation, Inside OC
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