For 51 students from the Columbia Valley, post-secondary education fees will be less of a financial burden thanks to the Arnold Ellis Scholarship Fund. The scholarships offered through the Columbia Valley Community Foundation (CVCF) are annual awards that Columbia Valley students are able to apply for and receive twice during their post-secondary education.

Arnold Ellis left a gift to the community when he died in 2012 through the community foundation. His gift was just under a million and a half dollars. Its because of that gift were able to help all of these students who are working on their post-secondary education, said CVCF executive director Laurie Klassen.

The community foundation accepts applications for the award during April and the scholarships must be used for the following school year. A key consideration for the awards is that every recipient must have spent at least five years of their childhood going to school in the Columbia Valley as per request of the donor.

Its for anyone pursuing any kind of post-secondary whether its trades or technical or university or college. This award supports all of that, said Ms. Klassen.

The scholarship application is fairly inclusive, taking into consideration where the student is attending post-secondary, what theyre studying, and any extracurricular activities such as sports and work. Arnold Ellis wanted to help students in the valley be better Canadian citizens so in the application students are asked to explain how their desired career will give back to whatever community they end up living in.

As a child, Mr. Ellis grew up in Skookumchuck where he was only able to receive a Grade 8 education.

Thats why education was very important to him because he never had an opportunity to pursue it, said Ms. Klassen.

The scholarship is in its third year. The CVCF also awarded one recipient the Bidder Bursary Award, the fund for which was established in 2006 in memory of Robert Bidder. This bursary provides funds to youth from Canal Flats to Spillimacheen for their education at trade schools, technical schools, and college and university institutions.