A new $1,000 scholarship fund will be available to graduating high school students in the region who are interested in the field of law.
The West Shore Sarah Beckett Scholarship is funded through the West Shore’s RCMP and Community Policing Advisory Committee coming together to match the amount raised in a local benefit concert.
Const. Sarah Beckett, a local RCMP officer, was killed in the line of duty on April 5, 2016.
The scholarship isn’t limited only to applicants who want to be a police officer or serve in law enforcement, noted West Shore RCMP Const. Nancy Saggar.
“It’s very important for people, especially our youth who are now going into post-secondary education, to understand what their rights are, and what the laws of the country that they live in are, so that’s something that we want to encourage,” she said, adding that the scholarship would assist in that education.
Applicants must be graduating high school students who are residents of either Langford, Colwood, View Royal, Highlands, Metchosin, Songhees Nation or Esquimalt Nation in order to be eligible. They also must be enrolled in a post-secondary institution within a year of graduating.
“Extra consideration will be given to students that have experience in community service or volunteering,” the guidelines state. The applicant must provide two reference letters and one page on why they should receive the scholarship. Full details can be found on the West Shore RCMP website.
In 2017, over 200 Greater Victorians came together for a charity concert performed by David Gogo, a four-time Juno award nominated Blues guitarist to honour fallen constable Sarah Beckett. That concert was spearheaded by Rick Stiebel, noted Saggar, a Black Press Media columnist and former reporter and contributor to the Gazette.
“I got to know Sarah a little as the [West Shore RCMP] community liaison,” Stiebel said. “She was an incredibly vibrant person who added something special with her presence. All of her colleagues and coworkers had a chance to see how truly special she was.
“I had to cover the press briefing the day she died for the Gazette and was really moved by how deeply impacted everyone was,” he said. “I approached the family about putting on a concert to raise money for a scholarship to keep Sarah’s memory alive in the community, and they agreed.”
The concert ended up raising just under $2,400.
“I was overwhelmed by the support from local businesses, and especially the city of Langford, Mayor Stew Young and the community, who really stepped up in making the concert a success,” Stiebel said.
He added, “I’m really pleased that the Community Policing Advisory Committee has decided to provide funding to make it possible.”
The scholarship has enough funding for the next five years. Deadlines are set for the last Friday of April, which this year falls on the 26th.