A Campbell Riverite is one of 20 selected to receive the $10,000 RBC Indigenous Youth Scholarship.
Anthony Henry, a member of the North Island Métis Association and one of Canada’s top young Judokas, was named as one of only 20 recipients (from a pool of close to 800) of scholarship.
The annual scholarship, which is for up to four years, is now in its 30th year and recognizes both strong academic performance and community involvement. The award is designed to help reduce the barriers to post-secondary education and training for Canadian Indigenous youth.
According to the Indigenous Services Canada Quality Education report, only 44 per cent of Indigenous youth (18-24) have completed high school, compared to 88 per cent for other Canadians. Access to post-secondary education and training is often limited.
Henry, a 20-year-old Bachelor of Commerce Student at the University of Victoria, is also a coach with the Campbell River Judo Club. Henry competed in the 2019 Canada Games for Team BC, finishing fifth in the 60kg division and was training with Canada’s national team before the pandemic.
“My ultimate goal is to inspire and give back to the Indigenous community,” said Henry. “Through Judo and volunteer work I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to develop strong relations with both the North Island Métis Association as well as the Wei Wai Kum First Nations throughout my life. However, in my own direct experience there is an indisputable lack of support for indigenous youth.”
Now partway through his degree, Henry also hopes to earn Certified Professional Accountant designation.
“One of my goals is to create an Indigenous targeted organization that would aim to provide financial guidance to indigenous youth that have not received proper financial education,” said Henry. “I am a firm believer financial intelligence is a crucial life skill, yet it is underrepresented in most schools and often poorly communicated at home.”
“I’ve exhausted my savings in order to make it through my first two years, so the magnitude of this scholarship will enable me to enter third year and remain on course to achieve my overall dream of completing my degree by 2024 and becoming my family’s first university graduate.”
Wanda Wuttunee, Editor in Chief, Journal of Aboriginal Economic Development and retired professor, University of Manitoba, is on the steering committee for the award.
“Indigenous young people are sometimes faced with roadblocks to success in the education system, so having a program that alleviates financial stress, champions their accomplishments and supports well being is so important,” said Wuttunee. “I commend RBC for making space for Indigenous achievements.”