An Argenta native who grew up working on a family farm, riding horses and playing violin is this year’s recipient of the Bev LaPointe Scholarship for Women in Trades.
Vida Herbison, who is entering her fourth and final year of training to be an electrician at Selkirk College’s Silver King Campus, won the annual $2,000 scholarship Tuesday.
Not bad for someone who chose what would end up being her career on a lark.
“I was working pretty dead end jobs,” said Herbison. “I found this women in pre-trades course and they made it pretty easy for me. I just picked electrical because I thought it would keep me interested because it’s always changing and it’s fun and it’s physical.”
Bev LaPointe, who passed away in 2014, was a former City of Nelson employee and CUPE Local 339 president whose human rights complaint in the mid-1990s established a new sexual harassment policy that banned pornography from the workplace.
Jocelyn Carver, executive director of the Kootenay Career Development Society, said she was surprised by how similar Herbison is to the award’s namesake.
“They both are deeply committed and intelligent and feisty and I think have a side to them that is very sensitive and artistic, too,” said Carver.
“Vida is clearly an excellent writer and what came up at the awards ceremony is that Bev was also a writer and wrote many short stories.”
Herbison, 25, couldn’t say exactly what might have led her to become a journeyman electrician. But her mother, Rachel Ross, guessed that her three daughters growing up where they did might have had something to do with it.
“They always felt capable and confident using their hands and doing things in the world,” said Ross.
Herbison said she planned on paying off her tuition the same day, but that wasn’t top of her mind when applying for the award.
“I wasn’t really thinking about the money part of it,” she said. “It’s really what it means to be tied into Bev.”
Herbison joins Brooklyn Scorey and Emily Musa as winners of the annual award, which Carver said has turned into something more important than she thought possible.
“Because of who Bev was and because of the applicants who are attracted to the award, it has become a moment to celebrate the passion and tenacity of young women in our community and to recognize the shoulders that they and we are all standing on in a way that has become both an homage and quite an emotional moment.”