Alma Hagemann’s lasting gift of education

The kind generosity and community spirit of a very special Ponoka district lady has left a memorial legacy that encourages local students like Iris and Vincent Kellie to pursue vital post secondary educational opportunities.

Photo submitted Vincent and Iris Kellie and their mother Karen

Photo submitted Vincent and Iris Kellie and their mother Karen

The kind generosity and community spirit of a very special Ponoka district lady has left a memorial legacy that encourages local students like Iris and Vincent Kellie to pursue vital post secondary educational opportunities. Alma Hagemann and her husband Charlie were both born and raised in the Lundgren and Sharphead districts of the County of Ponoka, and in their active young lives experienced the joys and hardships of growing up in a large family on the farm.

After their marriage in 1945 they also farmed the original Hagemann homestead together until 1964, then moved into their new home in the Riverside district of Ponoka. Charlie was employed in home construction, while Alma continued her longstanding employment in the business office of the Alberta Hospital, and both were very busy in community activities. Charlie passed away in 1988, and his wife Alma remained a busy and dedicated Ponokan until her death on April 8, 1999.

Alma Hagemann was always very passionate about the extreme importance of all children having the opportunity of receiving an education, especially being able to continue on at the completion of their school years into post secondary education endeavours. Unfortunately in so many cases the students and their parents cannot always afford to pursue these exciting ongoing studies.

In her will Mrs. Hagemann established an ongoing educational trust fund whose subject is the betterment of education for those student applicants who are residents of the County of Ponoka. Grants from the unique Alma Hagemann Educational Trust Fund are made on the needs of the individual, and not on scholastic standing.

Many appreciative recipients

Since the inception of the Alma Hagemann Educational Trust Fund in 1999 five students have collectively received slightly over $30,000 between them to further their education; while 15 applications are currently underway with $85,000 conditionally allocated to 11 of those students. Disbursal funds are handled on a case-to-case basis, with ongoing promotion and scrutiny from the local volunteer board to make sure that the program is utilized as intended.

Iris and Vincent Kelly are one of the many ongoing success stories of the Hagemann Educational legacy. After completing their schooling in the Ponoka County system they were able to achieve their exciting future career goals thanks to financial assistance and encouragement of this trust fund.

Iris Kellie has almost completed her third year of university, and is now looking forward to another three years of post secondary education in order to achieve her exciting goal to become a speech/language pathologist. The thoughts of six years of accumulated debt for this extensive learning process can be very distressing, but with the ongoing financial support of the Alma Hagemann Trust Fund Iris knows very well that there is just a little less pressure to the important task at hand.

“Once I get out of school I know that I will be able to start life a little easier, a feeling that is priceless for all students, and for this I am most grateful to the Alma Hagemann fund.”

Vincent Kellie has now completed his extensive training at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and is currently working at I.B.M. Computers in Edmonton.

“I would like to start up my own business; a partnership between me and my classmate from NAIT. We already have a website set-up for the Edmonton area; we will do primarily computer repair/upgrade/builds, and we are also skilled in programming and web design,” Vincent explained. “I would also like to extend my most sincere thanks to the Alma Hagemann Educational Fund for everything they have done for me.”

Their mother Karen, who works at the Centennial Centre in Ponoka, has also expressed sincere thanks for the financial support given to her son and daughter from the Alma Hagemann Trust Fund.

“My son completed his education at NAIT and now he can begin his career without debt; while my daughter is continuing her studies at the University of Alberta and she will also receive assistance with her future expenses,” Karen gratefully acknowledged. “Our family would also like to extend a personal thank you to Colin Lowden, the chairman of the board for the strong commitment he gives to his volunteer assignment with the trust fund. We commend the committee on their dedication in assisting students with their education with monies available from this very special fund in fond memory of Mrs. Alma Hagemann.”

In a letter to the board Karen Kellie explained that university is very expensive, with the costs of living away from home are also rising. On behalf all parents she stressed… “We want our kids to be safe, eat well, and live in a decent place while they are getting the best education possible; but financial burdens can often make this very difficult. We assist our children in finding available monies through bursaries, scholarships, savings, bank loans, government loans, trust funds etc. Good marks in high school can also assist in getting local and provincial academic scholarships, which can also help to offset the high costs.” “I sincerely hope that others will learn and benefit from their struggles and accomplishments!”

Who is eligible for funding?

To be eligible for funding from the Alma Hagemann Educational Trust Fund students must be residents of the County of Ponoka as well as well as being enrolled at least one full term immediately preceding their application. The volunteer governing board believes that Alma Hagemann’s sincere intention was to assist students in secondary schools and students beginning their post-secondary education; so initial grants may, subject to some exceptions, only be available to students applying while enrolled in high school. However, funding could then continue for subsequent years of education, and the board is strongly submitted to strongly investigate each application to determine eligibility.

Those wishing to make application or obtain more information on the Alma Hagemann Educational Trust Fund are encouraged to contact your school officials or board chairman Colin Lowden at (403) 783-5698 at your earliest possible convenience.