A graduate of Nakusp Secondary School

Bursaries a boon for Selkirk College students

The Robert Leoppky Bursary is one of Selkirk College’s newest financial awards and was started by Atlific Hotels & Temple Hotels Inc.

Learning to deal with financial pressure is as much a part of post-secondary life as final exams, but financial aid opportunities at Selkirk College help ease stress for students focused on success.

When she enrolled in the Selkirk College Resort & Hotel Management Program (RHOT) straight out of Nakusp Secondary School in 2013, Kim Hill discovered one of the biggest challenges was how to pay the bills at the end of the month. Though she had a student loan, Hill was looking for some relief and applied for the Robert Leoppky Bursary.

“I didn’t expect much when I filled out the application, but when I received the notification in the mail just a couple days before Christmas… for me that was the biggest Christmas present I could get,” she says.

The Robert Leoppky Bursary is one of Selkirk College’s newest financial awards and was started by Atlific Hotels & Temple Hotels Inc. in 2013 in honour of the late Robert Leoppky. Each year RHOT students receive $10,000 in bursaries that pay tribute to a man who spent 40 years in the hotel industry. Hill was one of the four students last year who received $2,500 each.

“I was at the point where I was thinking I had to get a job, but when I received the bursary that enabled me to focus more on school,” says Hill.

Easing the Pressure

Last year Selkirk College handed out more than $300,000 in scholarships, bursaries and other awards. Bursaries are based on financial need and scholarships are awarded on academic merit.

“We know how challenging it is for students to balance their studies and make ends meet,” says Selkirk College Donor Relations Coordinator Joleen Kinakin. “Bursaries and scholarships enable students in all of our programs to ease the financial burden and focus their energies on striving for the success they seek in the classroom.”

Like the Robert Leoppky Bursary, Selkirk College depends on the generosity of donors like Atlific Hotels & Temple Hotels Inc. to make the awards possible. Later this month, the college will bring together students and donors at the annual Bursary Tea which is held at Nelson’s Tenth Street Campus. More than 250 bursaries will be handed out at the January 31 event.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for our donors to make direct connections with the students they are helping,” says Kinakin. “Without individuals, companies and organizations stepping forward to create these important gifts for Selkirk College students, getting the proper education might be beyond reach for many people.”

Choosing the Proper Pathway

Hill has now completed three of her four semesters in the RHOT program and now there’s one final four-month push to graduation in April.

With a wealth of knowledge already gained — including a summer internship at the Nakusp Visitor Centre — Hill is pleased with her decision to choose Selkirk College.

“Moving to a bigger city was a little stressful for me, but the school is great,” says the 19-year-old. “I love the small classrooms, it’s not like in university where there are so many people. You get to know your teachers and classmates pretty well.”

Though the $2,500 Robert Leoppky Bursary is the largest award she has received during her time at Selkirk College, Hill has also been awarded a couple of other scholarships. She says if students take time to consider the opportunities, the financial rewards are available.

“There are so many awards out there,” says Hill, who plans to pursue a career in event planning upon graduation which she hopes to start at the Westin Calgary or Chateau Lake Louise. “You just need to do your research and then apply… you never know what you are going to get.”

Find out more about Selkirk College scholarship and bursary opportunities online at selkirk.ca/financial-information/financial-aid/scholarships-awards-bursaries.