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Enno & Marina Hoekstra Family Bursary

Enno and Marina were both born in The Netherlands in 1944 and 1947 respectively. Marina emigrated to Canada in 1953 with her parents and brother. Her parents had decided to start a new life here after five years of German occupation during the Second World War. Her Dad was one of thousands of able-bodied young men rounded up in Rotterdam and taken to Germany for forced labour. Fears of another World War and glowing reports of friends who had already gone to Canada helped them decide. The family settled in Sarnia, Ontario, where Marina’s Dad was a barber. Marina knew from an early age that she wanted to be a teacher. After high school she went to Teachers’ College in London, Ontario for a year and started teaching at an elementary school in Sarnia in 1967.

That was also the year that Enno emigrated to Canada. Enno grew up in The Hague, a big city on the Dutch coast 35km from Rotterdam. After high school he studied Mechanical Engineering, first in Delft and then Rotterdam. The third year of the 4-year course was a co-op year spent at four different companies in four countries: Canada, Dutch West Indies, England and The Netherlands. He was able to do this because his father worked for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and flying on standby was virtually free. It was his 3-month co-op term with a company in Sarnia that made him decide to try to get his first job in Canada. So two months after graduating he went back to Sarnia, and that’s where he met Marina in 1969. At that time he was working as a technician because his Dutch degree was not recognized by the Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario. They said he would have to take a dozen exams to obtain his accreditation. Meanwhile Marina and Enno had decided to get married which made it possible for Enno to study full time and get a Canadian Engineering degree. So in August 1970 they got married, moved to Toronto, and in September Marina started a teaching job in North York and Enno started at the University of Toronto. Rather than do Mechanical Engineering again he switched to Industrial Engineering which took an extra year. After he obtained his Bachelor of Applied Science degree in 1973 he was rehired by his former employer, Ontario Hydro, at their head office in Toronto. He continued to study part-time at U of T’s Faculty of Management Studies and obtained his Master of Business Administration degree in 1976.

In 1974 and 1975, while living in Mississauga, sons Davin and Arin were born. Marina had stopped teaching, but continued taking courses, as a part time student at the University of Toronto where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1978.   She returned to her love of teaching, first as a supply teacher then on short-term contracts and finally a permanent contract, teaching mostly what she was passionate about, vocal music.  When Enno’s job moved from downtown Toronto to Bowmanville in 1994 the family moved to Port Perry which made it easier to commute to their cottage on Sunny Lake for the weekend.  Enno retired in 1999 and when Marina retired in 2001 they made the cottage their permanent residence and they became involved in the local community as active members of the Probus Club, the Sunny Lake Association and the Elderberries Choir.    In their retirement, their education and subsequent job opportunities provided them with the ability to travel extensively.

Enno as a Past President of the Rotary Club of Gravenhurst and & Marina with her experiences as a teacher, recognized the need and importance of financial help for the families in Gravenhurst.   They decided to fund a family bursary because they realize their determination to get a post-secondary education has enabled them to have challenging and rewarding careers.  They want to provide students who are as eager as they were to continue their studies, the opportunity to do so, even if they lack the means.

Enno and Marina are excellent examples of couples who not only recognize the needs in their community, as many of us do, but they have made quiet efforts within their community to make it a better place for us all to live.

We, at the Rotary Bursary Endowment Fund, expect that one day you too will be able to give back to your community.

The chosen field of study should lead to a diploma, certification, or degree which qualifies the student for a job which is forecast to be in demand upon graduation.

This bursary fund was established in December 2013