School District No. 46 (SD46) honoured the people who make it possible for hundreds of bursaries and scholarships to be handed out to graduating students each year at a May 5 tea at Chatelech Secondary School.
About 60 people came out to the evening event that offered piano music by local students and a delicious spread of appetizers and desserts courtesy of the Sunshine Coast Alternative School.
“The school district is fortunate to offer close to 300 scholarships and bursaries each year with a value of approximately $250,000,” superintendent of schools Patrick Bocking announced to loud applause. “The community support of our youth is absolutely amazing, and as I’ve come to know the Coast, having been here for eight months now, I am continually amazed at the generosity of spirit of the people here on the Sunshine Coast.”
The many bursaries and scholarships are funded by individuals, businesses, community groups, schools, day cares and unions. Each award supports continued learning for Coast grads, sometimes in specific areas.
“It takes a large group of committed people to ensure that your organization is represented to our students and that the criteria for your generous donations are communicated to our students and their families,” Bocking said, thanking principals and vice principals from each high school for letting students know what is available and how to apply.
Trustee Lori Pratt attended the event on behalf of the school board and offered the board’s thanks to donors.
“The funds you donate to our student bursaries and scholarships truly ensure that our students have opportunities within the world that allow them to continue their studies and hone their skills in many varied interests from woodworking to biochemistry,” she said.
Pender Harbour principal Mark Heidebrecht spoke on behalf of principals, noting some of the paths taken by students in SD46 are “amazing.”
“We have a Rhodes scholar who has come from Pender Harbour Secondary, we have scientists from Chatelech, we have renowned musicians from Elphinstone, we have outstanding chefs from the alternative school,” he noted.
One student who benefited greatly from awards available in SD46 was Alexa Dornbierer who received eight bursaries in 2010 to pursue hotel and resort management.
“With the bursaries I received, I paid for not only my first whole year of university, including tuition and books, but half my second year. I’m entirely thankful for this generosity and support from all of you,” she told donors at the event.
It was obvious that the support of the Sunshine Coast community has meant a lot to grads in the past, and 2012 grad Shannon Paul thanked donors for their continued financial support.
“We all understand how expensive post-secondary is and how much it can cost, especially the expenses of living away from home. Money from people like you enables us to have a future we would otherwise only dream about,” she said. “Thank you.”