GRAVENHURST — June is an exciting time for high school grads.
The exhilaration of ending one educational chapter and beginning another in two months can be tempered by the adult realization of paying for post-secondary studies.
Especially now that government plans for free schooling have ended.
Luckily, a six-year-old Rotary Club of Gravenhurst initiative is well in place.
In 2012 club members voted to start the Gravenhurst Rotary Club Bursary Endowment Fund.
Thanks to generous Rotarians who kick-started it with a $50,000 club donation and indidividual members who more than doubled that amount, the fund now totals about $1.5 million.
“IT TAKES A COMMUNITY TO RAISE A CHILD.”
The interest from that fund is re-invested in local students pursing additional education and studies.
This past school year — 2017-18 there were 34 students from Gravenhurst who set off to study at universities and colleges from the University of British Columbia to McGill in Montreal and they were assisted by citizens from Gravenhurst.
This year the fund will provide more than $50,000 in bursaries to students from Gravenhurst or students who have studied in Gravenhurst who want to pursue a higher education by obtaining a degree, diploma or certificate from a university, college or trade program of their choice.
Through the generosity of more than 150 Gravenhurst and area residents, 18 stand-alone bursaries have been set up in family names, and although these family bursaries vary in size, all bursaries will provide a minimum of $1,000 to a student and considerably more to some.
In addition to the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst, bursaries will be provided by the following families who have donated $25,000.00 or more to the Endowment Fund:
Mary E. McSheffery Memorial Bursary
Norman Rippon Family Bursary
Everett and Florence Doherty Family Bursary
Ross and Betty Franklin Family Bursary
Audrey and Fred Brown Family Bursary
William and Dora Rathbun Family Bursary
Agnes Lina Cook Memorial Bursary
Terence Haight Memorial Bursary
Glen and Phyllis Williams Family Bursary
Isabel Heels Memorial Bursary
Goodwin Family Bursary
Frankish Family Bursary
Vellinga Family Bursary
Enno and Marina Hoekstra Family Bursary
Jack and Sandra Young Family Bursary
Patricia Patterson Family Bursary
John Vail Family Bursary
Gravenhurst Rotary Club.
“The community should feel proud of their involvement in the success of the children from our community,” said Ken Little, the bursary fund’s chair.
“Having a growing pool of money in the Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund is slowly changing the perceptions of some lower income families and changing the expectations of their children by providing opportunity locally. We want children and families to know there is help – right here in our community for their children.”
Richard Augustine, an accountant and advisor to the Bursary Fun, adds: ‘Last year the club sponsored students in expensive studies such as engineering and less costly subjects such as aircraft mechanics.
“The grants are not scholarships, there is no requirement to submit academic marks … these are bursaries intended to help families and their children who have a dream of a better life through a better education. It is ‘need’ that is most important and the determining factor.”
To qualify for a bursary, the applicant must be either going to school in Gravenhurst, or a Gravenhurst resident and actively pursuing an education beyond high school.
If a student is from Gravenhurst and attending a Catholic Schools in Bracebridge or Orillia, they can also be eligible for a bursary.
Former bursary award winners are invited to apply again this year.
The Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund continues to receive donations annually from individuals in the community and encourages those in a financial position through their own hard work, inheritance or lottery to consider this registered charitable cause which is helping kids locally who want or are trying to improve themselves.
Applications for the 2018-2019 year of study are available at the local high schools or on the website at www.BursaryFund.ca, where you will also find full details regarding qualifications, special donors, history etc.
Completed Applications must be received by June 30 and can be dropped off at Muskoka Real Estate Services at 810 Bay St. in Gravenhurst or mail it in to: The Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund, Box 888, Gravenhurst, Ontario, P1P 1V2