Three students from around the Basin will receive a Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship this year. The scholarship was established in 2017 by the Muth family and Columbia Basin Trust.
The scholarship awarded $3,300 to each of the students who have overcome adversity to pursue their educational dreams. Tara Woods from Invermere, Makayli Wilkinson from Crawford Bay and Elizabeth Sutton from Cranbrook are the recipients of the scholarship this year.
“We were amazed by the strength and courage of each and every applicant who shared their very personal and powerful story of perseverance through adversity,” said Cathy Muth, Neil’s wife. “Tara, Elizabeth and Makayli demonstrate a continued positivity and a strength of believing in themselves and their dreams, no matter what they’ve had to face in life. They are truly inspiring, and we are so glad that we can support their efforts as they work towards realizing their educational and career goals.”
Makayli Wilkinson loves horses and working with and helping others. As a recipient of the Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship she will be attending Olds College in Alberta this fall as part of their two-year Equine Science Program, a program that will allow her to combine her joy of riding and her desire to assist children and youth who face physical and emotional challenges. Makayli became interested in equine-assisted therapy when she volunteered at Creston’s Therapeutic Riding Centre as a student at Crawford Bay Secondary. Now ready to graduate, Makayli is looking forward to her future goal of becoming a therapeutic riding instructor.
“I’ve spent so much time doubting myself, but I have persevered and made it through. I am so happy to receive this scholarship. It will allow me to pursue my life’s goal.”
Tara Woods will begin the last two years of her Social Work undergraduate degree through the University of Victoria distance education program in September. Receiving the scholarship means that she can continue her work in her community and help her realize her final goal of a master’s in counselling.
“My hope for my future is to continue to work with vulnerable and marginalized youth and give back to Indigenous and LGBTQ2iA+ residents in my community,” says Tara. “This scholarship will allow me to finish my degree within two years. I have been working towards this degree over the last several years and now I will have the opportunity to complete it sooner than expected. I am incredibly honoured and grateful that this scholarship is supporting me to continue to work towards my goals and to help others.”
Elizabeth Sutton is looking ahead to a career in helping children. Graduating from Mount Baker Secondary this year, she has been accepted into the College of the Rockies’ Pre-Education Certificate Program for her first year of undergraduate studies this September to prepare for a bachelor’s degree in education through the University of Victoria, ultimately working towards a master’s in counselling psychology. For Elizabeth, the scholarship is helping her onto an educational and career path that she might have not been able to pursue.
“I am very grateful to be a recipient of the Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship this year. Without this scholarship, it is questionable whether I would have been able to afford to begin my post-secondary education,” says Elizabeth. “Now I can start working towards a career where I can be part of a supportive network for children. That is what helped me as a child and now I can help give back.”
The Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship was created to honour Neil Muth, the Trust’s president and chief executive officer from 2005 through 2016, who passed away in November 2016. Neil valued and supported perseverance and continuous learning. He encouraged his children, staff and others to be curious, to seek their own path, and to never give up.
The scholarship is awarded by the Muth family, administered by Columbia Basin Trust and made possible by the generous donations of family, friends, local governments and organizations.