Selkirk College Bursaries Signal Relief for Those Pursuing Dreams
The importance of student financial aid is a key component in creating an affordable post-secondary education for Selkirk College learners. Emmett Deuling is one of the students who has benefited from the kindness and generosity of donors who will be recognized at the annual Bursary Tea on the Tenth Street Campus.
When Emmett Deuling received confirmation of acceptance into the Selkirk College Nursing Program, there was elation knowing he was moving closer to his dream of a career in health care. The next emotion Deuling felt was anxiety, knowing that four years of education was going to be a costly venture.
Throwing himself into student life on the Castlegar Campus during a challenging first semester, Deuling exceeded his own academic expectations. Though buoyed by his success in the classroom, when he sat down with his wife to take another look at the family budget, it became clear that providing for their two-year-old son was going to be even more difficult than expected.
That’s when Deuling started to receive word that he was the successful recipient of more than $5,000 worth of bursaries.
“Every time there is an envelope with money in it, it’s woo-hoo!” says the 29-year-old Nelson resident. “It means I can focus on my education, it means my baby is eating very well, it means everyone in the family has winter clothes, it means I don’t have to work because school is such an important priority right now.”
First Career Focused on Food
Originally from Lumby, when Deuling graduated from high school he headed to northern British Columbia to work in the bush. The physical demands of camp life soon became too much and he decided to return to school.
With the lure of Whitewater Ski Resort and a more enjoyable mountain life, Deuling enroled in the Selkirk College Professional Cook Program in 2009. After completing his first year on the Tenth Street Campus in Nelson, he was hired by a the All Seasons Café and began a run of cooking that eventually resulted in earning his Red Seal.
“I’d been cooking and snowboarding my way through the last decade which was really fun, but it was time for a change,” he says.
Weighing heavily into his decision was a desire to build a more stable career and future for his young son Jack. He applied for the Nursing Program and while on the waitlist, returned to the School of Academic Upgrading at Selkirk College to dust off his thinking cap and get the needed requirements.
“The Adult Basic Education Program was awesome,” Deuling says. “High school was a long time ago and I really didn’t enjoy it then. Taking high school biology and chemistry was really exciting and really fun this time around.”
While he was a part-time student, Deuling continued to earn a steady paycheck as a cook. As he prepared to take the next step in his education, it was clear the focus needed to be squarely on academic success.
Tight Budgets and Tough Decisions
Factoring in student loans and his wife’s income, the young family was able to get through the last few months. With at least four more months of classroom work before he is able to take a break and earn more money, the four bursaries that Deuling was provided will help make his first year manageable.
“If I wasn’t getting the bursaries, I would be working at least two nights a week which means my grades would suffer and it would be more likely that I wouldn’t be here,” he says. “I’m not sure if I would have survived the first semester if it wasn’t for the bursaries.”
Deuling will speak on behalf of students at the annual Selkirk College Bursary Tea that takes place at Mary Hall on the Tenth Street Campus on Saturday, February 3. More than $120,000 in needs-based bursaries will be handed out to 130 students on the afternoon. In his remarks, he will touch on the inspiration he draws from his peers who are making similar sacrifices to achieve their post-secondary dreams.
“The bursaries provided by all those who donate to Selkirk College means people can better themselves,” he says. “It’s about capacity building. It allows people to take control of their lives, educate themselves and do what they want to do rather than what they have to do to survive.”