Four students from the Grande Prairie area have gotten a little extra help paying for their education thanks to their ancestors. Justin Mikhail, Kara Nelson, Keyana Anderson and Kaley Dorscheid have all received a $1,500 scholarship from the Grande Prairie and District Oldtimers’ Association.

Chairman Bob Patterson says the scholarship is open to people who have relatives who arrived in the Grande Prairie area on or before March 5, 1916.

“They have to be a descendant of an early pioneer and we have records of all the people who came, and when they came and when they filed on land and then they have to have marks of 75 per cent average or better, and all these kids this year sure did that.”

Mikhail is currently a University of Alberta Engineering student and says his application says his great-great-grandparents first came to the area in 1911. Nelson, who is studying for a Bachelor of Biblical Studies says her great-grandfather came to Grande Prairie in 1913.

Along with applying for the chance to get some extra money, Patterson says the scholarships also gives the students a chance to learn more about their families.

“Once they apply for the scholarship, they have to write a bit of a family history so it makes them go and look back at some of the history books or ask grandpa about where they come from and how they got here.”

“We think it’s kind of important that the kids learn their history and their heritage a little bit,” he adds.

The four recipients have gotten their scholarships already but will be honoured at a banquet on March 18th.