David Kiezebrink, a second-year hospitality student at Durham College, knows full well that good grades and hard work pays off.
He was one of the almost 200 students who received scholarships this year, while another 300 received bursaries from donors, totaling more than $500,000, as part of the Student and Donor Recognition Evening.
He, along with the other recipients, attended the reception on Jan. 25 to have the chance to meet and thank their donors.
Kiezebrink is grateful for the donation.
“I have a wife and a kid and I pay rent and I pay food, I pay gas and I pay insurance. I have a lot of bills, so it’s going to help,” he says.
He received a $500 Durham Region Chairman Scholarship for his grades last year.
The reception took place on the Whitby campus and included bursary recipients who received donations throughout the year, so they would also get a chance to meet their donors.
“You will get students thanking donors because they couldn’t afford to go to school and they made a difference in their lives,” says Elaine Catell, the student award officer at Durham College.
“For the scholarship students, it’s more someone is recognizing their hard work, which means a lot to them.”
More than 150 students came to the event at the Centre for Food, where students were given dessert, got to pick up their scholarship and bursary cheques and had the chance to speak with their donors.
There were also photo opportunities for students to get pictures taken with their donors.
Catell says students are really appreciative of the donations.
“We get thank you letters from so many students telling us how this affected their lives and in some cases, it means they can come to school,” she says.
The event has an impact on donors as well. One donor, Geoff Lloyd, the president of the Rotary Club of Oshawa, says meeting the people the club is supporting is what the night is all about.
“Over the years I have met some really wonderful young people,” he says. “Young people get very bad press and it’s great to see youngsters…working hard.”
Catell says scholarships were given to the top two students of every two to three-year diploma program at the college.
The top student was given $1,000 ,while the second student received $500.
Other students had received bursaries up to $4,000 throughout the year.
Catell says financial workshops are available for students to help them properly manage the money.
Only students who were taking a full course load were eligible for the scholarships.
“They have to be taking a full course load because that is the only way it is fair,” she says. “You have students taking five courses and students who study less.”
She says it is difficult to be at the top of a program, but the students who have been chosen have worked very hard.
Lloyd says he hopes students will continue to be encouraged to pursue their careers, relationships and passions.
“My advice is to never give up (on) whatever you decide, provided it is legal of course,” he laughs. “I wouldn’t suggest drug-peddling or anything like that.”
The Student and Donor Recognition Evening is held every January.