If there’s one thing the winners of this year’s bursaries and scholarships have in common, it’s a belief that Heartland Youth Center (HYC) has made them a better person.
The sentiment was shared by Dacia Gramlick, Cass and Keirsten Docherty and Kelsey Bissett, four of the five recipients in 2015.
Bissett and Gramlick won the Nicole Blumhagen Memorial Scholarship, Keirsten Docherty the Fidelity Investments multi-year scholarship through the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, while Cass Docherty won the Best Buy Grade 10 scholarship through the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. Dustin Jackson, who was unavailable for comment, won the Professional Institute of Public Service of Canada scholarship.
All of the winners, except Cass Docherty who is now in Grade 11, are in post secondary studies in Alberta and British Columbia, and all spent six to 12 years in HYC programs, working as junior leaders, or later as paid employees of HYC, leading its youth programs.
Keirsten Docherty’s scholarship, which guarantees $10,000 split equally over four years, has already made a great impact. The student has just completed her first semester at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, where she’s studying anthropology.
“This has made a huge difference,” she said. “It’s a big part of my tuition, one less worry.”
Keirsten Docherty said wanting to travel the world was what first made her consider anthropology, as well as an interest in different cultures.
“I want to learn and I want to help people, and anthropology seems the best choice,” she said, adding that she’s been enjoying it thus far.
For her little brother, the money from his scholarship will help cover tuition. The scholarship also came with money for a computer, and the business threw in several extras at no cost, Cass Docherty said.
“I thought I was going to study architecture,” he explained. “Now, I’m not sure. I really like chemistry.”
With another year before a final decision has to be made, Cass Docherty said he’s keeping his options open but is focusing hard on his studies, all the while working a part-time job in Stettler.
For Bissett, HYC was a part of her life from the get-go, as her mother, Winnie Bissett, is the executive director.
“I have essentially been raised at HYC,” she said.
Now, she’s working toward her psychology undergraduate degree at Athabasca College via correspondence courses.
“The amount of work associated with correspondence university courses is fairly significant and stressful,” she said. “I am fascinated by all the concepts and theories associated with psychology, which makes the process enjoyable.”
She continues to work part-time at HYC, where working with the kids and the programs offered there let her release some of the school-related stress.
Gramlick’s no stranger to most of Stettler; a gifted singer and track and field athlete, Gramlick’s successes are regularly reported in the arts and sports sections of the news. Now she’s making waves in Edmonton, where she studies music at the University of Alberta. She’s joined a choir there and is heading overseas to perform in the New Year, and is part of the track and field team.
She worked with HYC as a program facilitator, and a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters. For her, winning the Nicole Blumhagen Memorial award meant quite a bit.
“The scholarship was for mentoring and so by mentoring I was honouring her (Blumhagen), I think,” Gramlick said. “Mentoring is such a wonderful things for people to do because it enables you to be a positive influence on someone’s life who may really need it.”
The scholarship winners have to have good grades and show involvement and volunteerism, and apply for the scholarships, with the winners not chosen by HYC, with the exception of the Nicole Blumhagen Memorial Award.