Who benefits from your gift?
Our students are not the only ones who benefit from the generosity of our community. Our donors find great satisfaction in offering the vital support that transforms lives.
Robin & Leslie Yates honor a beloved son
Gage Yates was a young man who treasured everything about automobiles. He loved cars almost as much as his parents, Robin and Leslie, loved him.
“He adored working on his cars,” his father Robin recalls. “To make them go faster, and to handle better. He would drive them hard, break them, and fix them again. It was an endless cycle of learning.”
Robin and Leslie made it a priority to invest in Gage’s learning process—to ensure that he had the tools and resources he needed to explore and master his craft.
“Having the right opportunity and the right tools for the job is so important,” Robin says as he remembers his own childhood. “Growing up, I was given so many opportunities by the families who raised me as a foster child. And by the people who took a chance and invested in my education; the people who didn’t necessarily know me well, but still they provided a chance for me.”
The Yates' wanted to provide that same opportunity for their son Gage. However, in 2006, Robin and Leslie tragically lost Gage, and they were forced to face a new life without him.
Through their heartache, however, a new determination was birthed. The Yates' wanted to continue the cycle of learning that Gage was so passionate about. They envisioned a way to empower other hands-on learners. And Robin drew from the generosity of those who had invested in him years ago, to fuel their plan.
“While it’s true that Gage is no longer with us physically, he is with us in our hearts and our memories. And it is in his honor, that Leslie and I support as many students as we possibly can each year, with the Gage Yates Memorial Scholarship, for automotive programs at BTC.
All the successes I’ve had in life were because someone was willing to take a chance on me. In most cases, they didn’t even know who I was, but yet they were willing to provide me with an opportunity to grow and develop.”
We are grateful to the Yates family and all the families and businesses who recognize the vital and growing need to support BTC students through scholarships. These awards have ignited the hope of students who are on a mission to transform their lives—to educate themselves at BTC, and to gain the skills required to succeed in today’s workforce.
Andrew Gamble: A student’s success story
“Bellingham Technical College was the springboard I used to advance my career, and it has presented many opportunities that had previously not existed for me.”
—Andrew Gamble, Instrumentation and Control
Bellingham Technical College has been educating and empowering Whatcom County residents for generations—and it has earned a well-deserved reputation along the way for transforming lives and putting its graduates to work. Andrew Gamble’s father-in-law graduated from BTC decades ago. And it was his father-in-law’s positive experience in the Electronics Program, and subsequent job placement, that were inspiring factors in Andrew’s decision to also attend BTC.
"Before I came to BTC, I was working as a chef in Anchorage, Alaska,” Andrew told us. “I was at a crossroads in my life, and I knew it was time to make a change and go back to school. I chose BTC based on my father-in-law’s past experience, and his recommendation.”
Andrew does not regret his choice. He credits his current success with the vast real-world experience and knowledge that his instructors have passed on to him. This invaluable training, along with Andrew’s hard work and determination, are the reasons for his success. Andrew graduated with honors from the Instrumentation and Control Program in 2006. He was heavily recruited by potential employers upon graduating, and ultimately chose to accept a position with a Washington-based instrumentation services company, after spending the summer working offshore as a paid intern.
“BTC prepared me for the workplace by giving me the basic elements required to go into my chosen field, as well as job placement assistance,” he said. “The challenging coursework really helped me prepare for a career in the oil and gas industry.”
Andrew is now the manager at Petrogas Ferndale Terminal. He calls his job “exciting and interesting, with new challenges every day.” Andrew enjoys working with people, and pointed out that his plant has had the opportunity to hire several BTC grads in the past year.
“Getting my degree was just the first step along an exciting new path that presented many new challenges, and a much higher earning potential,” Andrew stated. “BTC was the springboard that I used to advance my career, and it has presented many opportunities that had previously not existed for me.”