Skip to content

Skeetchestn student is proud recipient of $70,000 scholarship

Da’von Ekering is one of two-dozen recipients of TD Scholarships for Community Leadership

Local Indigenous student Da’von Ekering is the proud recipient of the TD Scholarships for Community Leadership, awarding him up to $70,000 for tuition and living expenses.

The scholarship is awarded annually to Canadian students who are deemed to be community heroes. Ekering is one of 23 recipients who received the scholarship, each awarded differing funds.

Described by his teacher, Caitlin Wolter, as a gentle, peaceful leader who is quick to help resolve conflict and encourage his peers, Ekering, who will graduate from Skeetchestn Community School this year, has been instrumental in his school.

When Ekering was in Grade 7, he approached Wolter about starting an art club, now called Skeetchestn Art Club Collective. What began as a lunch-hour event became an after-school club where students could learn about art, laser cutting, 3D printing, 3D modelling, and more.

“This young man has single-handedly been encouraging friends to come to art club because he wants them to dream big,” said Wolter.

Ekering said there isn’t much to do in a small community, so the club was created as an activity and safe space for students.

“The club’s main focus is art, but it’s also an open space for anyone to attend,” said Ekering, explaining that students can also come for tutoring or to hang out with one another.

Wolter said she is proud of Ekering for starting this club, and commented on how Ekering hopes the art collective will keep kids and teenagers away from things like drinking.

Ekering will head to Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver with his scholarship this fall. He’ll focus on illustration in his first year, but said he’s considering going into 3D animation.

“I’ve had a passion for making and creating for quite a while now,” said Ekering, who admitted he’s nervous about the culture shock of moving to a big city.

“Overall, I’m quite excited to get out there and do something I’m passionate about, learn more, and improve my skills. I’m a tad nervous but definitely looking forward to it.”

As for what happens once he leaves, Ekering said that the Skeetchestn Art Club Collective will continue to grow, and the school will have two more 3D printers next year.

“It feels nice that I’ve helped make people one, passionate about art and two, interested in attending after-school activities.”

“[Ekering] has this wisdom about how to treat others in order to be treated how you want,” said Wolter. “I don’t know how his parents got him to think about that, but he’s a kid who thinks long-term when interacting with people in situations. I’ve always admired this about him.”

Wolter went on to say that when students were raising money for a trip to Japan where they’d be able to learn more about Japanese culture and history, Ekering continued raising money even after he had funded his own trip.

The reason?

Ekering wanted to help other students who hadn’t hit their fundraising goal.

“I have a lot of amazing kids in my class,” said Wolter. “A tight-knit community really fosters those soft skills. How to interact with people, talk to people, get along. It’s woven into the school community.”

READ MORE: Lions Club volunteers are all smiles for cookie fundraiser

READ MORE: Clinton girl, 7, raises close to $2,000 in bannock sales for Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter