Scholarship foundation going strong

  • Dec. 27, 2013 10:00 a.m.

submitted article–It started with a love of fishing, grew to a love of Haida Gwaii and is carried on by the love of good friends.Kane Fernandez and Roger Earle were both two men from different parts of the world, who both shared a love of fishing. As Kane and Roger both made their way to the islands once a year to marvel at its beauty and indulge in their shared passion, their love for fishing soon evolved into a love of Haida Gwaii. In 2001, in memory of these two men, friends and family gathered together to create the Fernandez Earle Scholarship Foundation (FESF). FESF was created to commemorate the love these two men had for the islands, and to give back in some way to the communities that hosted them each year. Both Kane and Roger’s love of the ocean was an important aspect of creating the scholarship. The founding members of the scholarship committee felt that it was important not only to educate youth, and strengthen the connection between Haida Gwaii and Hawaii, but they also recognized the importance of tying the scholarship to the ocean. Originally the scholarship set out to find Haida Gwaii youth who were interested in marine biology, however over the years this view has expanded to encompass other fields, with the intention always being that the skills these youth gain would one day come back to benefit the islands. Today the FESF has supported nine Haida Gwaii students through their university education and created relationships and scholarships with not only Hawaii Pacific University, but the University of Hawaii and Simon Fraser University. Overall, five students are currently being supported this year, with a grand total over the past twelve years of educating 11 students. This year the FESF is hosting a fundraiser event. Gaad/ Holo for Scholars (Running for Scholars) is a six month running event, with the end goal of the island communities running the distance from Haida Gwaii to Hawaii, a total of 4,346 km. Participants are invited to sign up at www.fernandezearle.com, where throughout the year individuals can log their kilometers, and collectively as an island, the goal can be met. Participants will also have the opportunity throughout the seven months to gather sponsorship for their logged km. Participants who run 10 km or more will receive a one-of-a-kind Gaad/Holo for Scholars t-­?shirt. Participants, family members of students, and students of Haida Gwaii are invited to a celebration BBQJune 22 at Misty Meadows. This will be an opportunity to “talk story”, to share successes and information about the scholarship, to support the students past, present and future of FESF and to celebrate the completion of, as an island, running from Haida Gwaii to Hawaii. It is our hope this event will bring the communities of Haida Gwaii together in supporting the education of the island’s youth, and share in honoring the memory of two men and their love of the islands. Together we can do this!