“It’s a feeling of pride. It just makes you feel good.” Terry Proskurniak beams as he talks about his annual namesake scholarship for Warburg students. On a snowy November day, Proskurniak is on his way from his home in Edmonton to Warburg School to complete his latest donation.
Proskurniak has a deep connection to Warburg – he grew up in the community. After moving away and building a successful business, he returned many times over the years for celebrations and visits. And in 2015, he decided he wanted to give back to the school in which he spent his formative years. “I always wanted to do something,” he said, “I was at the school for the student awards ceremony and I got the idea of creating this scholarship fund.”
The Terry Proskurniak Scholarship is an annual $5,000 donation to help Warburg School graduates fund their post-secondary education. The first students to receive the scholarships graduated in 2016. Now, for the first time, Proskurniak is meeting some of the recipients. Nathan Drysdale and Larissa Kuzio – first-year students at the University of Alberta – returned to Warburg School during their fall reading week to receive their scholarships and shake the hand of the man behind the donations. “I can actually say ‘thank you’ for giving to the school every year,” said Kuzio, “That’s huge.”
After posing for the requisite cheque presentation photos, the trio sat down for coffee, joined by the school’s principal, Wendy Maltais; BGRD’s Associate Superintendent of Learning Services, Bill Romanchuk; and trustee for the area (County West), Shawna Ofstie. Conversation shifted from the realities of university life to the paths of previous scholarship recipients and Proskurniak’s memories of Warburg School.
During the discussion, Kuzio and Drysdale credited the scholarship with motivating them to push themselves, academically and personally, in their final year of high school. One of the criterion is a commitment to community citizenship or volunteerism. Drysdale, who was active in the local hockey community, reflected on the valuable experience. “It’s taught me a lot of life skills like leadership and respect and fairness,” he said.
Proskurniak acknowledges he has been fortunate to be in a position in which he can contribute in this way, and he is encouraging others who are able to consider a similar gesture. “It’s helping your fellow person out,” he said.
On behalf of Warburg School and Black Gold Regional Division No. 18, thank you to Terry Proskurniak and all of our scholarship donors for their generosity and support. The scholarships BGRD is able to distribute support the next generation and invest in tomorrow’s legacy. To learn more about scholarships available in BGRD, click here.