by Kirk Winter

Retiring Cardiff and Wilberforce elementary school principal, Elaine Fournier, has many fond memories of 17 years working with students in Haliburton County.

As she contemplates spending more time with her nine grandchildren, Fournier highlighted the community support staff and students have received from the families the schools service. She highlighted the work of the Wilberforce Funraising Group led by Kathy Rogers and Joan Burton.

The group’s mission statement says members “are dedicated to the betterment of our Wilberforce community.” As part of that commitment, for a second consecutive year, the group will be offering a $500 bursary to a local high school student pursuing postsecondary education and requiring financial assistance. This includes university, college or apprenticeship programs.

“There’s just a few of us diligent volunteers that enjoy volunteering and want to see our community do better … and support initiatives in town to keep people active and keep people involved in the community,” Rogers said.

When asked where the idea for the student bursary originated, Rogers said, “(We) copied the Gooderham Action Committee. They have one similar. (We) collaborated with that group to develop one for Wilberforce. We received a generous anonymous donation of $500 (in the first year). We wanted to put that donation towards something that we thought was important.”

The scholarship fund will be supplemented for 2021 with $700 that was raised and donated in honour of Fournier’s retirement.

Rogers was thrilled by the donation made in Fournier’s name and said, “She knows a lot of the students who are graduating. She has been great … she works to make sure all the kids are (treated) fair. She wants all kids to succeed, and wants them all to do well. She goes out of her way to make sure all students get educated.”

Rogers was asked what kind of student they are looking for when they make their bursary decision. She said it had to be someone looking to further their education in any way.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of education. We think they are all important.” Rogers said, “Whether an apprenticeship, university, college or hairdressing school. All of those things we think are great. We just want to see kids in our community go on and accomplish their dreams and goals.”

Rogers added they are also hoping to recognize a deserving student who is community-minded and looking to get ahead and do well.

Fournier praised the volunteers, “These are schools with big hearts. Many long-time residents are involved with this initiative. Their actions put supports in place for students of all backgrounds regardless of their career paths.”

Applications for the bursary will be accepted until Aug. 15, 2021. All applicants will be reviewed by the WFG with one recipient being selected. Information and application form available at Facebook page – Wilberforce Funraising Group

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