A Burns Lake local’s generous donation will make it possible for a few Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) graduates to pursue further education with some ease.
Anne Bergen, a Burns Lake resident, gave a $25,000 donation to the LDSS for starting a scholarship program.
”The intention of the scholarship is to provide financial support to a graduating student that wants to pursue Education with the goal of becoming a teacher! If there are no students to consider, then students that want to pursue Nursing will be considered,” said Kim Dezamits, the school counsellor.
Bergen had first approached Dezamits a few months back, expressing her desire to set up such a scholarship. The first year the scholarship will be offered is for this year’s graduating class and it will go on for five years with the award being $5,000 for each year.
”Anne really wanted the award to help students with financial need. This is such a generous award and we all appreciate her support!” said Dezamits.
Bergen, who came to Burns Lake in 1947 has lived in the region all her life. She said that her husband always believed in education and that was one of the major factors in her wanting to set up this scholarship. She also said that she had always “wanted to give back to the community that has given me and our family so much.”
Bergen and her husband Conelius have been strong supporters of Burns Lake. As a result of this, the couple ended up donating 15 acres of park and wilderness area called Bergen Park which connected with the Evaneshen Trail, to the provincial government in the 1970s. Cornelius, who passed away in Feb. 2016, had left a hefty amount in his will to upgrade the local park which resulted in steps on the steep inclines, a viewing platform and bench over the top of a rock cave, as well as a new sign and bench at the top of the trail.
The couple who had eight kids, three of whom were adopted, made sure education was an important part of the kids’ lives. In fact, one of their sons is even a teacher.
“If things were different, my mom would’ve been a teacher,” said daughter Beverly Olinyk.
“I want this money to go to kids who have the desire to study further but don’t have the economic means to make it possible,” said Bergen, hoping that at least some of the students would get a fighting chance for better education opportunities.