Students receive bursaries


Nikki Buechler

SHAWVILLE – The Pontiac Scholarship Fund held a ceremony in Shawville on Wednesday, June 22 to award thirty-four bursaries, each for a thousand dollars. “The bursary recipients are chosen based on the specific programs they are enrolled in and their needs,” explained Jamie Christie-Stewart, one of the committee members. “Any high school graduate with roots in, or ties to, the Pontiac is welcome to apply,” she said.

The organization chooses students who are enrolled in a post-secondary course, and the money is meant to ease some of the inevitable costs associated with full-time education. “We don’t tell them what to study or how to spend the money, but we know attending university or college is expensive, and this is meant to help,” said Christie-Stewart.

The Pontiac Scholarship Fund receives donations from members of the public, local businesses, and other benefactors. “Our donors tend to be either Pontiac residents or they have a connection to the community,” continued Christie-Stewart. “When a donor contributes an entire scholarship (a thousand dollars) they can specify a purpose for that money, so we are responsible for choosing the right student to receive that award.”

Many of the donors were present to give an encouraging elbow bump to the students to whom they have provided financial assistance. “Some of the donors ask us to give their award to students who are interested in learning a trade, and some of the bursaries are earmarked for students who are studying health care or engage in community service,” explained Robert Pelletier, the founder of the Pontiac Scholarship Fund.

“When I started this about thirty years ago, we gave out five scholarships, each worth $250. We’re a lot bigger now, but we are still here, helping students. And it’s all because of the generosity of the community in the Pontiac and their unwavering, heartwarming support for these students,” he stated.

The call for applications began in May with the criteria posted on the website: Donations are always welcome.

“No amount is too small; we group smaller donations together to make up the full bursary. It all goes toward helping Pontiac students fulfill their potential and, hopefully, come back to the Pontiac to live and work here,” said Christie-Stewart.