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Bursaries awarded to 70 Mile House area students

Ken Alexander’s column to the Free Press
Ken Alexander - correspondent

For the 11th consecutive year, the 70 Mile & Area Community Fund Society has offered a bursary.

Society spokesperson Gail Moseley said they are pleased to award a bursary to Kashton Housden who is starting his first year at Thompson Rivers University.

Housden is 19 years old and was born in Salmon Arm.

In his bursary application, he said the year he was born, his family purchased his grandparents’ cabin at Pressy Lake.

Housden said he enjoyed every summer at the cabin with his parents and on other weeks in different seasons over the years.

“Pressy Lake has always been a special place to connect with nature and family.”

He was 13 years old in 2017 when the Elephant Hill wildfire ravaged the forest “and took much away from our community and our family’s cabin and belongings.”

Housden said the firsthand experience of the Elephant Hill wildfire inspired him to begin his firefighter journey.

In Grade 11, he was accepted into the BC Wildfire Rap Attack program.

“I learned the fundamentals of wildland firefighting and achieved my S100 Basic Wildland Firefighting certificate.

“I also became a Junior Firefighter with the Salmon Arm Fire Department, successfully completing extensive training towards my national Fire Protection 1001 certificate, and I am now a full-fledged volunteer firefighter with the City of Salmon Arm.

“My role as a firefighter is rewarding because it allows me to serve others and continue learning.”

Housden said last summer he worked with Firestorm Enterprises as a wildland firefighter.

“I was deployed for two weeks to the Chasm wildfire, and for another two weeks at the Maria Creek wildfire near Cache Creek.

“I was honoured to serve on these fires near where our cabin was at Pressy Lake.”

Another bursary awarded

“We are pleased to also be able to award a bursary to Olivia Gulliman as she continues her studies at the University of Northern British Columbia,” Moseley said.

“She has received the bursary before and we are pleased to be able to give her some more help as she starts another year.”

Gulliman lives in the Watch Lake area. She attends the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George. She is currently doing a Bachelor of Science Biology Degree and will be graduating next year.

In her bursary application, she said her career goal is to work with animals. “This could be in the form of being a wildlife biologist and doing fieldwork, wildlife rehab, working for an animal welfare non-profit such as the SPCA or working in conservation.

“I have also always thought of doing an education program and being a teacher. I think I would really love teaching high school math or science classes as I have lots of knowledge I could pass on from all my university courses.”

Gulliman said she has enjoyed the tutoring she has done and helping her brother with his schoolwork.

“I think I could instruct a class in a supportive way that creates a nice environment for learning.

“For about five years, I have been volunteering to be in the Quest HPV Study.”

About the fund

The bursary fund started with money left in the 70 Mile School Parent Advisory Committee fund and the 70 Mile School Jackrabbit Cross-country Ski fund when the school was closed down, and donations by individuals and groups, Moseley said, “and we received a grant from the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT).”

She explained the funds are held and invested by the BC Interior Community Foundation (BCICF).

Every year the interest earned is made available for the society to award one or more bursaries and sometimes a grant, Moseley noted.

“So far, we have awarded $8,350.”

Next year’s call for applicants will be in the spring with a deadline by the end of June, she said.

“To learn more, or join the society or to donate, email for information to,” Moseley said. “Funds have helped former students of 70 Mile School, children of former students, residents of the catchment area of the former school and children or grandchildren.”

Moseley said people can apply for a bursary more than one time.

“They can try again if they were not selected for a bursary.”

She adds people can donate at the 70 Mile Store, and these receipted donations are used to cover the society fees and further the bursary.

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