The Ladysmith & District Credit Union and its insurance subsidiary recently gave a leg up to six local high school graduates to the tune of $12,000 as they prepare for the next phase of academic studies.
“We believe strongly in supporting the long term goals of the youth of our community,” said LDCU’s CEO John de Leeuw. “We recognize the high cost of post-secondary education and we like to contribute and offer our help and our support.”
Ladysmith Secondary School graduates who were recipients of awards from the LDCU and LCU Insurance, include: Carlene Plourde, Ladysmith & District Credit Union Bursary – Academic ($3,000); Gina Haase Cambran, Ladysmith & District Credit Union Bursary – Vocational ($3,000); Maria de Leeuw, Ladysmith & District Credit Union Family Scholarship ($1,500); James Moore, Ladysmith & District Credit Union Family Scholarship ($1,500) and Ladysmith & District Credit Union Scholarship In Honour of Jack McDonald ($1,000); Danica McKinley, Ladysmith & District Credit Union Scholarship ($1,000) and Kennedy Ronmark, LCUI Community Spirit Award ($1,000).
De Leeuw said it’s “incredibly rewarding” being able to hand out the awards at grad every year.
“It’s one of the highlights of my spring just to go to commencement every year,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to see the excited kids, the excited parents, and to see the joy of these students.”
Plourde, the recipient of an academic bursary, is attending Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops in the fall where she’ll study towards a Bachelor of Arts with a major in psychology.
“I am extremely grateful for the scholarship I was awarded,” she said. “Throughout high school I worked very hard so that I would eventually be able to further my studies and I am thankful it all paid off. My mother and I are both very appreciative.”
New for 2017 were the two family scholarships who went to the son or daughter of an LDCU employee.
De Leeuw’s daughter Maria received one of the awards and is attending VIU in the fall. She has aspirations of becoming a nurse and working for Doctors Without Borders.
The $5,000 scholarship in memory of John Ulinder, a founding member of the LDCU who attended every board meeting for over 50 years, was not given out this year because there were no eligible applicants. The credit union board, however, has committed to ensuring it remains the largest scholarship handed out to LSS grads.
The LCDU has restructured the awards over the years to reflect the increasing costs of tuition and living expenses as well as the opportunity to recognize those who have made an impact in the financial co-operative’s success since it was founded in 1944.
Jack McDonald was a long term director at the LDCU and Helma Kotilla, the first female board president of any credit union board of directors in British Columbia.
Some of the awards are decided by the LDCU bursary committee while others are at the discretion of a committee at the school.
De Leeuw said he enjoys reading the thank you cards they receive and hearing updates on how LSS graduates are progressing in their studies and later into the job market.
“It’s really cool to see them grow from children to young adults,” he said. “The other great thing is knowing we had a hand in helping them get there. It’s very gratifying.”