BURIN PENINSULA, NL – Four students from schools around the region have been selected as this year’s recipients of the Ryan Penny Memorial Music Scholarship.
Recipients are Bradley Collins, a Grade 6 student at Donald C. Jamieson Academy in Burin; Amanda Kavanagh, a Grade 6 student at Sacred Heart Academy in Marystown; Jessica Matheson, a Grade 12 student at Marystown Central High School; and Pacey Denty, a Grade 9 student at Pearce Junior High School in Burin.
Ryan Penny, the scholarship’s namesake, was killed in an industrial accident near Fort St. John, BC. Shortly after his death, friends of the musician started the scholarship in his memory.
"Ryan liked to whistle, sing and play guitar and his friends were all aware of his musical talents,” reads a post on RyanPenny.ca under a description of the scholar ship.
“It wasn't hard for his friends to determine where to direct the scholarship fund – he entertained his friends whenever the occasion arose.”
To date, the scholarship has help fund the musical efforts of 68 students from the province.
Originally the scholarship was only available to students on the Burin Peninsula, but in 2015, organizers started awarding it to students outside the region.
“We have had so much support here in Edmonton each year at the fundraisers from people that were originally from the Northern Peninsula that we decided in 2015 to add Canon Richards Memorial Academy in Flower’s Cove to receive a yearly $500,” explained Melanie Whalen, Penny’s sister.
“Then in 2016 we added Viking Trail Academy in Plum Point to the roster as well.”
Whalen said it is hard to believe the amount of support the fund still receives.
“We are all in amazement that after all this time it’s still running strong and drawing a crowd to get together, have some cheers and contribute,” she told the Southern Gazette in an e-mail.
“(It’s) been tough times here Edmonton but it hasn’t showed in the numbers (contributing to date). There are enough funds there to keep it rolling for decades to come.”