Traditionally, scholarships are given to the top academic students. The Strive Scholarship Program is an initiative that aims at the other end of the achievement scale.
The students that this program supports are struggling in “life”. They sometimes have a tragic home life, are from low income families, suffer from substance abuse problems, and perhaps have physical, emotional or mental challenges. Some of these students have often developed some negative work habits. Their poor school performance has been a result of these struggles. They are in danger of not completing high school.
Statistics show that these are the young people who will be problematic for society for most of their lives if they do not get help in ‘turning their lives around’.
The Strive Scholarship Program will recognize and reward students in academic, general, or practical courses who show significant improvement in overall performance in their senior year of high school. The program challenges these students to strive to improve their school achievement, to gain self confidence and to develop post-secondary education goals.
Gary Bennett, as then President of the Rotary Club of Kelowna, Founding President of the Rotary Club of Kelowna Foundation and Chair of the RCK Scholarships and Bursary Committee introduced the Strive Scholarship concept to the Club and to the community in the fall of 2006. Since that time literally hundreds of scholarships have been awarded.
If the student is motivated to turn their lives around, comes to school on time regularly, improves their work habits and learning attitude, their grades will improve. If they then, graduate from high school and qualify for a program at an accredited post-secondary Canadian institution of their choice, they may be eligible for a Strive Scholarship.
The Strive Scholarship Program is transformational in the lives of these challenged young people. If someone does not intervene to help these young people become productive citizens, our society could well be burdened with a much higher cost later.
The Gary Bennett Family Fund provides several Strive Scholarships each year to students who have overcome significant challenges to qualify for a post-secondary education.