Every year, Bezanson and the Grande Prairie Regional College team up to award 3 students from the community with a bursary. These students can receive the award if, prior to high school, they had attended Bezanson School and if they have or are attending GPRC. This year, our three local recipients were Emma Doris, Daylan Walker and Jess Gomery.
Emma attended Bezanson School from preschool to Grade 9. Afterwards, she ventured onto Peace Wapiti Academy where she academically exceeded. Graduating in 2017, Emma moved on to the Grande Prairie Regional College where she switched from a Bachelor of Science Degree to a Bachelor of Education, Secondary Route with a Science major and a Math minor. This will be Emma’s second year at the college and she plans to continue on for a year or two at GPRC until she transfers to the University of Alberta. Emma says, “I’m so lucky to be able to do the first few years of college close to home. It makes the transition into adulthood way easier, and I currently don’t have to pay rent, as I am still living at home. GPRC is also a great choice because of the smaller classrooms, lesser tuition and a wonderful student community.”
Students all over the world need scholarships or bursaries to pay for tuition, books, rent and so much more. School is very expensive and without this financial help, some can not afford it. Emma says, “Scholarships are so helpful to college students. Even working all summer, you don’t always have quite enough saved up for tuition, books, parking passes, lab fees, food, etc. It also feels great to be rewarded for being a student and community member in good standing!” She also says that she is, “very grateful to have received this scholarship” and “it is just one more incredible opportunity that the Ag Society has presented me with in my years as a Bezansonite.”
On top of the crazy difference in money while transitioning from highschool to college, there are many other ways that each student has to adjust. There is so much that is different from the bigger classes, more in-depth courses and so much more. Doris says, “My first year of college was so unlike high school. On one hand, it was an incredible year. I had a few outstanding professors teaching interesting classes, I made some new friends, and had a lot of fun. I also experienced vast emotional growth. On the other hand, your first year of college is a huge change and your first real taste of adulthood. To anyone about to go to college or university for the first time, you really do need to be prepared to take on the responsibility and put in the hours!” Although there are so many adjustments, Emma had a great first year and states, “GPRC is like the Bezanson of colleges. Not too many people, great parties, and a huge system of support between community members and organizations.”
These scholarships are so helpful to every student that receives one. It shows how the Bezanson community supports those growing up in the small hamlet and end up moving onto get a higher education.
“I would like to thank the 3 main organizations in Bezanson who fund these scholarships. I also really want to thank the handful of outstanding junior high and high school teachers, as well as college professors I had who made such a positive impact on my school career and inspired me to follow in their footsteps.”
Daylan attended Bezanson School from for his schooling as well. He then moved onto Peace Wapiti Academy where he also excelled and moved onto GPRC. After asking Daylan about his post-secondary experience so far he says, “I loved my first year at GPRC. It was nice to experience post secondary, while still remaining in a small campus as well as a familiar town. The instructors who taught me are inspirational and amazing people, especially my English professor.”
From a small town, going to the college level is definitely a big step. But going to a smaller college, for sure helps with this. Being raised in the Grande Prairie his whole life, Daylan says, “it is where most of my family resides and is the place where I have made my closest friends. Coming from the smaller community of Bezanson and being so close to home, GPRC was the ideal next step.”
Daylan’s plans are not 100% set yet but he does plan to continue at the post-secondary level eventually. “ I plan to further my education next fall to either in Edmonton or Calgary. I love the sciences, but also just learning in general. Anything is possible.”
Jess attended Bezanson School from kindergarten to grade 6. After grade 6, Jess transferred to Holy Cross which then lead her to move onto Peace Wapiti Academy for grade 9 and St. Joseph High School for grades 10-12. She graduated from St. Joseph High School in 2017 and moved on to GPRC for her first year of college. After graduating, Jess was enrolled in a Bachelor of Kinesiology program at GPRC but currently has switched her degree to a Bachelor of Arts in Receation, Sports and Tourism at the University of Alberta. Jess will also be transferring to the University of Alberta to complete her degree for the next 3-4 years. She says, “I don’t have a specific profession in mind for when I finish my education but am hoping that while attending the U of A, I will be exposed to new opportunities that open doors to careers I don’t know much about yet. My goal is to travel globally to learn about other cultures and to live my life to its fullest potential with the knowledge and experiences I gain from that.”
Like the other two scholarship recipients, Jess understands the need and importance of this scholarship and explains this when she says, “I am incredibly grateful to receive this monetary award because having some relief about student loans allows me to focus more on my studies instead of the bills created by it.” But this isn’t the only important scholarship. Scholarships are key for college students because they support those who financially need it. Jess says, “The importance of financial awards like this one is that it gives the student a sense of achievement. Maybe they applied for dozens upon dozens of scholarships and bursaries and only one was granted; this award gives that hard-working student the feeling that they’ve accomplished what they set out to do and someone believes in them too.”
Jess has experienced many transitions when it comes to schooling, so college wasn’t that much different. She explains, “Because I was enrolled in 3 different schools since leaving Bezanson, it wasn’t so much of a drastic change for me to go to college.” The only huge difference she found was going from knowing everyone in your school to not even knowing some of the names in your own classes. Switching schools so much forced her to, “become more individual” and she says, “I’m glad to have become my own person by the time I made it to post-secondary.” Jess also had a typical college student experience for her first-year. She says, “I realized how much more effort is required than high school academics. It took about a whole semester to adjust, unfortunately, but I came out of my first year with knowledge and a GPA I can be proud of.”
“I would like to thank my mom for supporting me through my first year, especially when I failed my first class EVER during my first semester. I tried so hard to understand the material and all I could worry about was the “wasted” money but she reminded me that no matter what, she still loves me and just doesn’t want me to stop trying to do the best in the rest of my academics. Because of that, I was able to learn from my mistakes and have a more successful second semester, and hopefully a successful next few years.”
All three of these young adults are moving further into the adult world and it is incredible to see the community supporting them in their journey. We wish them all the best on the rest of their academic path and all of their future endeavours!
Written by Ally Pilgrim