Three local students are sharing $13,000 in post-secondary scholarship support from Lafarge in recognition for being excellent students, active volunteers and strong community leaders.
Dameon Blaser and Tori Kelly each received $5,000 and Stefan Judek got $1,300 from the 2019 Lafarge Education Endowment. They were recognized at the Banff Canmore Community Foundation’s Grants and Scholarship Reception on Monday, June 17 at artsPlace in Canmore.
Dameon grew up in the Bow Valley, including 11 years in Exshaw. He is an active volunteer and community leader and is starting a Bachelor of Arts in Photography from the Alberta University of the Arts (AUArts) in September of 2019.
Following the 2013 flood, he assisted parents with childcare, so they could clean out their homes. Dameon is also called upon regularly to help elderly citizens with technology-based issues. He has volunteered with several local organizations including CA– USE Canada, Rocky Mountain Soap Company Women’s Run, Fast and Female, Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue, and the Bow Valley SPCA.
Diagnosed with autism, Dameon’s long-term plan is to open a gallery and showcase his photography alongside other up and coming creatives. “I am sensitive to the need to have a place to showcase unique works and have a creative outlet to offer those who may not otherwise tap into their hidden talents.”
Yvonne Law has known Dameon for nine years. She says he has a big heart for people with disabilities. She wrote a letter of support on his behalf. “He is reliable, kind, and very much a creative thinker. He is ambitious and a leader among his peers, and a mature role model for those younger than him. Dameon sees things in our world that are often missed and brings them to light.”
Tori will be taking Hospitality Management at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). This program is a stepping-stone for her to complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management & Tourism at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT).
“I have worked in hospitality for four years now and I love it. It has helped me decide this is the industry I want to be in. Hospitality is full of big and important jobs. I have learned a lot about interacting with customers and coworkers and I have had a lot of roles and responsibilities. I believe I have the ability to help people have better experiences, whether eating at restaurant or staying at a hotel,” Tori said.
Tori started a dog walking business in Exshaw before she was 10 and created her own business cards to promote it. She also helps out at community cleanup days, fundraising and sporting events. She also volunteers at the Banff Springs Hotel Tea for Seniors, supports youth with gymnastics, and is a regular supporter of the Canmore Folk Festival.
“Tori is a driving force. When she makes up her mind to do something, she not only just does it, but she does it well,” says Margaret Blokhuis, who wrote a letter of support.
Stefan is heading into his final year of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology at University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). His long-term goal is to earn a Master’s Degree in Sports Psychology. He competed in multiple sports throughout high school: basketball, soccer, football, and track. At UNBC, he manages an intramural basketball team to help build his leadership skills.
“In grade 10, I began to suffer from issues regarding my mental health, which still affect him to this day. I decided that I wanted to combine my love of sports with the increasing awareness of mental health to try and make a difference. I haven’t looked back since,” Stefan said.
In 2018, Stefan earned a TESOL certificate on top of his full course load, allowing him to teach English as a secondary language. Stefan also volunteered for the 2019 Conference on Sustainability in Engineering. “Stefan is one of the most helpful, caring, and kind people that I know. He always goes out of his way to help those in need,” said Anna Vu, Co-Chair of the 2019 Conference in Sustainability in Engineering.
About the Lafarge Education Endowment
In 2014, Lafarge Exshaw Cement Plant announced the creation of a $315,000 endowment fund to support annual scholarships for future leaders in the Exshaw and Lac Des Arcs communities pursuing post-secondary training or education. The Lafarge Education Endowment Fund is managed by the Banff Canmore Community Foundation. More than $45,000 in scholarships have been awarded since 2014.
Past recipients include:
- Marina Neilson, Music and Technology Program, Selkirk College
- Chasey Kutzner, Bachelor of Nursing, Mount Royal University
- Joshua Carvelli, Information Technology, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT).
- Nickolas Kunz, Natural Resource Conservation, Lethbridge College
- Karey Suchan, Graphic and Digital Design, Kelowna Centre of Art & Technology.
- Cheyenne Blaser, Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, Mount Royal Universty
- Kate-Lynn Lautamus, Bachelor of Science, Vancouver Island University.