Aboriginal students earn scholarships

Four First Nation students from the Sooke region have each received an economic boost from the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society.

Emily Crooks, Harrison Leblanc, Jennifer Routhier and Alison Sudlow were among 457 people to receive more than $1.3 million in awards from the society that go to Indigenous students in B.C. to support their studies at public post-secondary institutions throughout the province.

The society’s Aboriginal student awards program is funded from the returns on an endowment fund established by the province. It was created to assist in removing barriers to higher education for Indigenous peoples.

Awards of $1,000 to $5,000 each are issued every year through a competitive process to students studying at all post-secondary levels, from trades training to doctoral programs.

The Indigenous population in British Columbia is growing at more than triple the rate of the non-Indigenous population, with nearly 45 per cent under the age of 25.

“The society that bears the name of Irving K. Barber was formed in part to give students from Indigenous communities in British Columbia the same opportunities to grow and succeed as those in other communities,” said Rajiv Gandhi, chair.

“The society is honoured to be the steward of the funds used to create these tremendous possibilities.”

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