The family of Kamloops teen Jennifer Gatey will honour her memory by creating a scholarship in her name. Gatey was struck and killed in a hit-and-run on Nov. 4, mere metres from her home, the day before her 17th birthday.
Jennifer was en route to work out at the TCC at the time of the incident. The driver that struck her has not yet been found, though police continue to investigate.
Her father, Cameron Gatey, wants to focus not on how his daughter passed away, but instead on who she was.
“You can do some lasting good for somebody else in the name of a loved one… and that person will also become part of the story, and go on to better things than they might have done without those resources,” Gatey said about the memorial scholarship.
Jennifer was born in Calgary and has lived in Kamloops since 2005. She attended Pacific Way Elementary and South Kamloops Secondary School. According to her father, she was intensely interested in life. She enjoyed playing the piano and guitar, woodworking, art and sports.
“I think of her as a remarkable person,” Gatey said. “She was taking every opportunity to live life to the fullest.”
The idea of the scholarship came quickly to Gatey. He still remembers the impact of receiving a scholarship when he was at university. To this day he is “very, very grateful” for the support he received from a stranger. The creation of a scholarship is part of giving back.
TRU Vice-President of Advancement Christopher Seguin knows Gatey from his time on the TRU Scholarship foundation board. He, too, has been impacted by the tragedy of Gatey’s death.
“We are honoured to be a part of her legacy, and to work with a family that has given so much to this university already,” Seguin said.
“It is a way to pay respect to that individual, but also a way to healthfully remember the person and not the tragedy itself.”
Cameron Gatey is a firm believer in the power of education.
“The more we can make education available to young people, the better a place our world is going to be,” he said. He wants this scholarship to be available to SKSS graduates transitioning to TRU, and thus tied to the Kamloops community.
However admirable the creation of a scholarship is, it does little to help cope with the unspeakable loss of a child.
“I have a hole in my heart that is unbelievably huge with the loss of my daughter. There’s nothing I can think of that will even begin to fill that,” Gatey said.
“There’s no replacing what was lost. It’s the most precious thing on the planet.”
As of early November, the community had raised more than $50,000 towards a memorial scholarship in Jennifer’s name. Gatey hopes it will be available to 2017 SKSS graduates.
Contributions to the fund can be made by visiting the Urban Systems Foundation website and selecting “In Memory of Jennifer Gatey” as the fund.