Colby Heddon is one of five students from Belmont who received $1

Cash for Belmont grads comes in handy

West Shore service clubs, individuals, donate to students' futures

Belmont students are getting their share of the scholarship pie.

More than $150,000 in scholarships and bursaries are being doled out to winning students of the 2014 Belmont secondary graduating class.

Colby Heddon, one of many students celebrating a $1,000 bursary award, said the generosity of the donors is already making a difference in her life.

“It means a lot to me, honestly, just knowing that my hard work finally paid off. My family has a less than ideal financial situation,” the 17-year-old said. “Knowing that bursary is there is really going to help subsidize the cost of post-secondary education. It just really helps lower my stress levels as I graduate and transition into the next phase of my life.”

The French Immersion student, who hopes to pursue biology or nursing in university, said she hopes to continue marrying academic performance with athletics and keep community in mind with her volunteerism. The rower and rugby player helped organize and raise awareness for the first annual Cops for Cancer spinathon at Belmont.

Heddon is developing traits that school councillor Dan Taft said are important elements of student growth. Not only is volunteerism good for the community as a whole, he said, living in a community that wants to recognize those students and support them is (also) a good thing.

“Students experiencing success from having worked hard at school and in the community are discovering that hard work is a good community value,” he said.

Taft, who works with the school’s scholarship society, said most scholarships or bursaries range from $200 to $1,500 and are given out for everything from academics and athletics to community stewardship and volunteerism. Just under half the funds come from the government and the rest from donors including societies, businesses and private individuals around the West Shore.

Jim Tenhove of the Rotary Club of Colwood represents one of many organizations that help the  society, adding $5,000 into the pot. He handed out $1,000 cheques to five Belmont graduates at a Rotary breakfast yesterday (June 12). It is a practice his club has continued for decades and hopes to continue for many more.

“Bursaries for up-and-coming students are important to help them grow and further their education,” he said. “Without education what do you get? Not too much. It is important to give back to the community…  (and investing) in youth in the area.”

Heddon, who was all smiles after winning one, said she is extremely grateful for the community-minded society and hopes to continue that tradition herself.

“It is a great cause and really they are helping students the best way they possible can just by furthering their education.”

alim@vicnews.com