In 1999 the United Nations declared the year to be the International Year of the Older Person. Naturally Century House had to celebrate and we undertook a number of different initiatives to recognize the special year. One thing we did was give a $500 bursary to one deserving student graduating that year from New Westminster Secondary School to help that student with their university tuition. We enjoyed it so much the committee decided to remain intact and continue to award bursaries each year. Over time the amount of the bursaries went up, as well as the number of bursaries handed out each year. This year, for the first time, we are awarding five bursaries: four at $650 each and a special Diamond Anniversary Award at $750. This is the twentieth time we are handing out bursaries and in that time we have awarded money to 65 students totaling $36,950! And the committee has raised every cent of that money ourselves through fundraising initiatives and donations.
It has been our tradition since 2006 to invite all the bursary candidates from the school each year to join us for a pancake breakfast in April. It’s a chance for our members to get to know the students and an opportunity for us to thank them for applying to win one of our bursaries.
On Saturday, May 12, for the first time, we held a special reunion breakfast in addition to the regular one we had the previous month. At this event we invited back all of our bursary winners from the previous years and 17 of them showed up. We took a “class picture” of the group, who had graduated from years between 2003 and 2017, enjoyed pancakes, and had each of the former winners stand up and tell us what they had been up to in their lives since graduating. In addition, we had received submissions from about 12 – 15 other winners who were unable to attend, but sent us greetings, photos, and information about what they had been up to, and we shared those slides with everyone there.
It was a very special morning for everyone involved!