South Okanagan students can apply for the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe scholarships
Rachel Pavlakovic may have had the coolest summer job ever. Pavlakovic, who wants to be a professional songwriter and recording artist, was the official anthem singer at the Kelowna Falcons baseball games.
And while it may have been fun, she needed a few part-time jobs to raise funds for her first year at university. Pavlakovic has just started classes and is working towards her Bachelor of Arts degree and majoring in English at UBC’s Okanagan campus. Along with her singing job at the ball games, she also worked as an on-field sponsor host and also performed at local festivals and events.
But if it hadn’t been for the generosity of Rick and Yasmin Thorpe, Pavlakovic says she would have probably needed to work at several more summer jobs to get her through her first year. Pavlakovic graduated from Mount Boucherie Secondary School in June — one of five schools in the South Okanagan where Grade 12 students can apply for the Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Entrance Scholarship. Thorpe and his wife Yasmin established the scholarships to help students from the region attend post-secondary school and follow their dreams.
“The cost of going to university is definitely daunting,” says Pavlakovic, thankful of the Thorpe’s generosity. “As a student, I don’t have a steady income or the resources to support myself while I attend post-secondary education.”
Each year, students from Mount Boucherie secondary, Summerland secondary, Penticton Secondary School, Princess Margaret secondary, and Penticton Christian School can apply for one of two $2,500 entrance scholarships to take courses at UBC’s Okanagan campus. There is also a $1,250 Continuing Scholarship available for students already enrolled in post-secondary courses. To date, the Thorpe family has contributed nearly $60,000 to student awards at UBC Okanagan.
“The Rick and Yasmin and Friends Thorpe Scholarship has given me the option to study one of my passions, the English language,” says Pavlakovic. “I am very thankful for the contribution and the investment the Thorpes have made in both my future, and the future of many other students throughout the years. They truly are very generous people.”
This year, along with Pavlakovic, first-year engineering students Alex Mackinder and Aidan Goeckel, both graduates from Penticton Secondary School, also received entrance scholarships from the Thorpes. For Yasmin John-Thorpe, an author and publisher, the scholarship is all about helping young people, like Pavlakovic, achieve their dreams.
“Meeting the recipients each year and hearing their enthusiasm about the future is gratifying,” she says. “We wish each of this year’s recipient’s success in their studies and their careers.”
Director of Development at UBC’s Okanagan campus Adrienne Nolan says awards like the annual Rick and Yasmin Thorpe and Friends Entrance Scholarship make a significant difference in the lives of the young students.
“We are grateful to the Thorpe family, whose generosity and passion for helping Okanagan students has created opportunities that will yield benefits long into the future,” says Nolan. “So many donors have been part of helping UBC Okanagan in our first 10 years.”
Rick Thorpe is happy to help remove financial roadblocks for young students and help them on their way to successful careers.
“We are committed to assisting students in our region attending UBC, and we wish each of these all the best as they pursue their dreams and studies,” he adds.