'It was a tough year for them': Couple gives $500 to every Grade 12 student in B.C. school district
An aerial view of southern Kelowna, B.C. (Murray Foubister/Flickr)
VANCOUVER -- A Kelowna, B.C., couple is giving $500 to every Grade 12 student in the region’s school district.
Initially, the couple tried to remain anonymous, but later came forward to share more on why they made the gift, which comes out to more than $1 million, reports Castanet News.
Lance and Tammy Torgerson, who are giving the money to students in School District 23, no strings attached, said they have seen firsthand how difficult COVID-19 restrictions have been for high school students.
“Our oldest is (graduating) from Grade 12 and they are never getting back the year they lost," Tammy said.
"When you're from a small city, you have friends all over the city, the kids are all connected through the high schools, just to lose those opportunities on sports teams and the parties and everything that goes along with it. It was a tough year for them."
She and her husband – who’s a well-known business person in Kelowna – had earmarked $1 million for a donation, and the numbers worked out well to give a $500 chunk of cash to each Grade 12 student.
In a letter to students, the couple suggested that teens use the money as they please, but they also gave some parental guidance.
“Please use these funds where you see fit, whether it be put towards your education, tools or personal protective equipment for the trades, or mental health needs.”
Tammy says they chose the public school system because both of their children went to public school and they felt that those were the students who needed it the most.
Letters have been sent home to parents to collect banking information for the money transfer. Students have until June 23 to register, however it will be several more weeks before the money is distributed.
"I remember being 18 and if somebody gave me $500 that was like, 'Oh my gosh, it's incredible.' I know they're going to appreciate it and put it to good use," Tammy said.