NWCC students win scholarship

Two Prince Rupert students continuing their education through adulthood got a solid chunk of their tuition taken care of in late July.

Leslie Olsen and Emma Payne both won the Ike Barber Transfer scholarship and will use the funds while attending Royal Roads University in Victoria.

Two Prince Rupert students continuing their education through adulthood got a solid chunk of their tuition taken care of in late July.

Emma Payne and Leslie Olsen both won the $5,000 Ike Barber Transfer scholarship, and both will put it to use when they attend Victoria’s Royal Roads University this fall.

Having completed their schooling the past two years at Northwest Community College (NWCC) on their way to a four-year degree, the two expressed similar gratitude to the program’s instructors and class culture in winning the scholarship, which was awarded based on a combination of academic merit and community or school involvement.

“I ended the (NWCC) diploma program with a 3.916 GPA and I volunteer with Prince Rupert Minor Hockey because I have a 10-year-old son and also, I volunteer for Canadian Parents for French because he’s in French immersion,” said Olsen.

“So I got references from the ladies who head the program.”

Olsen score-keeps for the minor hockey organization’s atom division games, and her son, Callas Pierce, attended a Dan Hamhuis  (Dallas Stars defenceman) camp last week.

“He beat him the other day and made Dan do 20 pushups, so we were pretty happy with that,” she said.

Payne is also an active leader in the Prince Rupert community and is getting involved with the Rupert Runners program.

“This year was my second year coaching the Learn to Run program with Rupert Runners. It’s a 13-week program that starts in February of each year, with the goal being beginner runners will all be able to run 10km,” Payne said.

“It’s all volunteer coaches. There’s usually about 10 of us. We meet three times per week and we had over 100 people sign up this year.”

In addition to their community presence, the two Rupertites were exemplary students in the classroom, said NWCC instructor Dave McKeever.

“[They were] always the ultimate student. Really participative in class and not afraid to generate discussion … That’s probably profoundly the best thing about them. They’re outgoing and work hard. Leslie in particular – she’s a bit of a perfectionist. She’s very hard on herself, but she’s the one who continuously challenged me,” said McKeever, who taught the two in business law, business communications and organizational behaviour, among other courses.

The instructor was instrumental in helping the two win the scholarship. McKeever had the students write 500-word profiles about themselves, something most were hesitant to do, but ended up being quite useful in applying for scholarships.

“These scholarships – they actually have a tough time giving them away if you can imagine that. People just don’t go to the effort of applying for them and they’re relatively simple to get if you meet the criteria,” he said.

Olsen is aiming to become an accountant, while Payne originally was only going to take a couple courses, but class sizes and great instructors like McKeever and Alan Hooper convinced her to get her diploma and continue on to Royal Roads. She’s interested in studying law and will explore it as a career option.

“I was thinking maybe this is something I can do and in the very least I’ll give it a good shot,” Payne said.

Both students will attend a two-week session in Victoria this fall at Royal Roads and then learn through distance education in Prince Rupert the rest of the year.

“I’m very proud of those two, for sure. They worked really hard and very much deserve that … It’s just a step in the journey. The whole thing about lifelong learning, it’s really true. It never does stop,” McKeever said.