Madison Baxter has been working four part-time jobs in a bid to earn enough money to attend post-secondary education next year.
Winston Nguyen works at his dad’s store to help pay for university education.
The two students were among 45 recipients of the inaugural David Kampe Awards presented by the Penticton Secondary Schools Bursary and Scholarship Foundation at the 2018 Pen High and Princess Margaret graduation awards ceremonies.
Thirty bursaries of $5,000 each and 15 vocational awards of $3,000 each were presented, primarily to students from deserving families who might not otherwise be able to afford post-secondary education.
Baxter plans to attend Okanagan College in Penticton in September before moving to the college’s Kelowna campus in January and hopefully onto UBC Okanagan by 2020.
“I want to be an elementary school teacher,” she said. “It’s something I’ve wanted to be since I was little.”
Baxter received a $5,000 Kampe bursary at the Penticton Secondary School awards ceremony in late May. She didn’t find out the amount of the award until she opened the envelope off-stage and was caught completely off-guard.
“I started crying behind stage,” she said. “It will make it a lot easier on my family, putting me through school.”
Nguyen wants to specialize in finance or economics. He has spent the past few years working at his father’s jewelry store in downtown Penticton.
He’ll be working at the store again this summer, in addition selling his own personally-designed jewelry. Nguyen’s abilities have already gained attention — having designed and made the two valedictorian rings presented to Pen-High’s co-valedictorians.
“Eventually I want to take over management of the store and then branch off from there,” he said.
Nguyen said he was also caught off-guard by the size of the Kampe bursary.
“At first I thought it was a typo. I thought, ‘They put one too many zeros here,’” he said with a chuckle.
The cost of post-secondary education these days doesn’t come cheap — especially for students from Penticton and other smaller communities who attend college elsewhere. The average bill, including the cost of accommodation and food plus tuition and books, amounts to about $20,000 a year.
Bill Bidlake, a director with the Bursary and Scholarship Foundation, said whereas scholarships are based mainly on marks, the Kampe Awards are bursaries which take a student’s need and character into consideration.
Penticton businessman David Kampe donated the $195,000 for this year’s awards and hopes other donors will come forward in the future to also help financially challenged students. In 2017, the Bursary and Scholarship Foundation’s highest single award was $3,000 — most ranged from $500 to $1,200.