COURTENAY, B.C. – North Island College business student Jessie Gervais is now a Ch’nook Scholar.

Gervais is the third-ever NIC student to receive the honour. The Ch’nook Scholars program out of UBC’s Sauder School of Business recognizes Aboriginal post-secondary business students for their achievements in and outside of school.

In addition to studying business, Gervais has danced in ballet performances across stages in Canada, Spain and Mexico.

The Ch’nook Scholars program includes a $2,000 scholarship, opportunities to attend conferences and meet industry leaders and provides professional services like business cards and photographs. It also gives students the chance to connect with other students who have First Nations heritage.

Gervais is Métis and has Cree grandparents. “It was really interesting to meet all these other students who came from different backgrounds,” he said in a release from the college.

“Some of them had grown up on reserve and others in cities. But it was encouraging to discover we all shared those same values, like protecting our environment and improving the lives of Indigenous people.”

Gervais grew up in Prince George and moved to Vancouver Island when he was ten years old. After high school, he began training at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

He later moved to Spain in order to dance professionally. His time in Spain was followed by four years at Compañía Nacional de Danza de México and then two years at Ballet Victoria.

He then completed his first year at North Island College online, and is currently in his second year of study.

For more details on NIC’s business courses and programs, visit www.nic.bc.ca/business. For more on the Ch’nook Scholars program, visit www.sauder.ubc.ca/Chnook_Scholars.