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BBMA celebrates a decade of supporting Métis students
Over a decade of existence, the Belcourt-Brosseau Métis Awards has provided $4.3 million to 656 students and given out 900 awards. Ninety-six per cent of those recipients have completed their studies.
“The students are amazing and talented,” said Loraine Steele, chair of the BBMA panel. “The awards panel is proud to assist them with their education endeavours.”
BBMA sponsored students have pursued studies as doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, trades people and health practitioners.
Steele, who is also a student at the University of Alberta, comes from the St. Lina area of northeastern Alberta. She has been a member of the awards panel for four years, the past three as chair. The panel consists of seven people, three of whom represent the sponsors with the remainder coming from the community, which includes industry and both levels of government. The panel is under the umbrella of the Edmonton Community Foundation.
“The financial need of the student is taken into consideration, so a budget has to be included with the application,” said Steele.
Also considered is whether the student is involved in the community and will be giving back to the community upon graduation. The panel awards between $2,000 to $7,000, which is usually given directly to the educational institution to pay for tuition and books.
First year Métis students receive priority in order to help them get a good start to their studies and not have to worry about finances, said Steele.
“The students make their family and community proud,” said Steele.
This year, 113 students received $480,000. The 47 students in attendance on Sept. 17 were treated to a special celebration, receiving their Métis sashes as BBMA celebrated 10 years.
Those in attendance were treated to a memorable evening. There was the pinning of sashes, fiddlers and dancers, audience participation, and the industry and government displays. Tribute was paid to the Métis Elder Marge Friedel, who recently passed away. Friedel strongly believed in education.
The Belcourt-Brosseau Métis Awards were established with the Edmonton Community Foundation in 2001. Funding for the annual awards came through the liquidation of the Canative Housing Corporation which was founded by Herb Belcourt, Orval Belcourt and Georges Brosseau, QC. in 1971. The award was established because the Belcourts and Brosseau saw a financial need for Métis students.
Caption: Loraine Steele: chair of the Belcourt-Brosseau Métis Awards panel for the past three years.
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