Three Kootenay students awarded legacy scholarship

Neil Muth Scholarship honours legacy of former Columbia Basin Trust leader

Pictured — Elizabeth Sutton from Cranbrook.

Pictured — Elizabeth Sutton from Cranbrook.

Three students from around the Kootenay region have received a scholarship awarded by the Columbia Basin Trust.

The Neil Muth Scholarship, which honours the legacy of Neil Muth, a former president and CEO of the organization who passed away in 2016, has been awarded to Tara Woods from Invermere, Makayli Wilkinson from Crawford Bay and Elizabeth Sutton from Cranbrook.

Each student will receive $3,000 that will go towards pursuing their post-secondary educational goals.

“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.”

Sutton, who graduated from Mount Baker Secondary School this year in Cranbrook is hoping to pursue a career helping children. She has been accepted into the College of the Rockies’ Pre-Education Certificate Program for her first year of undergraduate studies with the goal of completing a Bachelor of Education and eventually a Masters in counselling psychology.

“I am very grateful to be a recipient of the Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship this year,” Sutton said. “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.”

Woods is currently completing the last two years of a Social Work undergraduate degree through distance learning at the University of Victoria. The scholarship will help her continue her goal of finishing the program and advancing to 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,” Woods said. “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.”

Wilkinson will be heading to Olds College in Alberta this fall to enrol in the two-year Equine Science Ptrogram, which will combine her passions of equine riding and assisting children and youth who face physical and emotional challenges. Her intrest in the program was sparked by her volunteerism with Creston’s Theraputic Riding Centre as a student at Crawford Bay Secondary.

She hopes to become a theraputic 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,” she said. “It will allow me to pursue my life’s goal.”

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.

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