When Pontiac’s future stood in one room . . .

0
51

Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan


Dispatches from the 148 by Fred Ryan

In the past week, the Pontiac Scholarship Fund / Bourse Pontiac awarded its annual scholarships to local youths off for    post-secondary education. This was a record year – twenty-five      scholarships of $1,000 each. That Wednesday afternoon at Norway Bay Golf Course, chairman Robert Pelletier named the winners of the $25,000, also a record in total money granted.
These funds are all contributions coming from local businesses, individuals, organizations, and municipal-level governments. This was truly a Made-in-Pontiac affair: Pontiac-sourced donations going to Pontiac   students who, for the most part, intend to return to the Pontiac. In this way they will return the investment Pontiac has made in their futures by bringing home their new knowledge and skills and contributing to this big project we all share of pulling our Pontiac up by our own boot-straps. 
Our future will grow based on the training, knowledge, and ambitions of our own citizens. In a way, the next generation is fortunate to have the opportunity to help shape their community and their future – something not so open to the youths of Gatineau, Ottawa, Montreal or other cities. 
Pontiac, despite our deep and complex          history, is still a project in the making – our future belongs to us (in part because we’ve been abandoned by higher governments and the corporate world). Pontiac is not        a disposable “political product”! We, by default, have a greater control over our own destiny than most other places. And it is our youth, the next generation, who     are stepping up to the       plate and grasping this         challenge. We will all benefit from this bottom-up process of growth, seniors to this month’s newborns.
The Scholarship Fund is a key part of this process of growth and shouldn’t be under-estimated. It is a creation by people of the Pontiac, and not a “gift” from the     capitals. 
In that sense, it was heartening to see so many donors from all walks      of life and all parts           of the Pontiac give so generously to the fund and to the students. The donors included businesses, clubs, organizations, agencies, and especially individuals. Some donated a full scholarship,    others donated what they could afford and the Committee put them together to create these twenty-five grants. The names of these donors who have been so helpful are published elsewhere in this edition. The Pontiac Journal was among those donors, I’m very pleased to say – the only Pontiac-based media so involved. The media requires an educated population (and helps create it, too), so it is strange that other local media – and media which broadcasts or distributes from outside, and who identify themselves as Pontiac-concerned – were not present when they were needed. It was,  however, those who        did contribute that we           celebrate and thank – and who we will all support.
Most interesting was the variety of careers   that our own kids are pursuing, and pursuing with vigour, off to colleges and universities right across Canada. Their fields run from medicine and the sciences to photography, law, and business. Many of them mentioned plans to return and start      businesses here or seek employment here, serving our community. What more could we ask, except for more scholarship funds and more scholarship winners! 
Pontiac’s future was in that beautiful, sunny reception hall. It was a sort of passing of the torch, one generation to the next. And, by gar, it was inspiring!