The CY and Emerald Keyes Foundation Visit BCIT

On September 26, the BCIT Foundation and School of Construction hosted the CY and Emerald Keyes Foundation for a student meet and greet.

The CY and Emerald Keyes Foundation have been one of the longest and most dedicated partners within the BCIT School of Construction, dating back to 1983. Since then, they have contributed nearly 1 million dollars to support Mining and Mineral Exploration students through awards and program excursions.

Each year, the program embarks on a number of field trips to unique geographical and geological sites. Students have the opportunity to meet mining professionals and ask questions about the technical and managerial aspects of mining. These experiences solidify theory taught by instructors in the classroom and provide hands-on teaching examples. Over the past four years, field-trips have included excursions to places such as Oliver, Merritt, Princeton, and Montana.

To date, 549 students have received awards to help fund their education. In the past four years alone, 566 students have participated in mining field-trips. This is all thanks to the generosity of the CY and Emerald Keyes Foundation. “What an outstanding show of commitment, dedication and loyalty to BCIT and our students,” said BCIT Foundation Executive Director, Jackie Jacob. “You have changed lives through the transformative power of education. Our students significantly benefit from your support every day and we are so grateful.”

Together, we are responding to the needs of BC’s mining industry and contributing to the economic, social, and environmental prosperity of our province. We are training tomorrow’s geologists, surveyors, engineers, and environmental advocates – who will go on to make outstanding contributions to their communities and beyond.

Art Hunchak’s Tools For Success

Art Hunchak

Art Hunchak was a master mechanic with a passion for passing on his knowledge and experience to any apprentice who wanted to learn. Many achieved their Red Seal under his patient and expert training.

After completing university then teaching math and physics for a few years, Art realized the trades could offer him a better future. He worked as a heavy duty mechanic while earning several welding tickets and continuing to learn from other trades people.

With a growing family living in small town Manitoba, life wasn’t easy. Art struggled to buy good tools but it became a priority in the household budget. Art’s wife Lil understood how important tools are to career success. She was proud to use them on occasion too!

When thinking of how best to celebrate Art’s life, the Hunchak family knows that a set of good tools to start an apprentices’ career and get that oh-so-important first job is the best way to go.

The Art Hunchak Memorial Award

With the help of the BCIT Foundation, The Art Hunchak Memorial Award for an exceptional Heavy Mechanical Trades Foundation student was created. The annual award includes a 450 piece tool kit within a NAPA UltraPro rolling tool cabinet totaling $3,500 in value. Alex Marchi, a very deserving BCIT student, proudly received the first tool set in May 2017.

“I came into the program very green, and not knowing much. I’ve always known I wanted to work on vehicles. I was introduced to the Heavy Duty Mechanics program at a BCIT info session.

This award is life-changing because I have a head start working as an apprentice following my training. It made the transition into my career a  meaningful milestone in my life.  

When I met the Hunchak family, they shared about Art’s life.  It was amazing to learn more about his legacy. They told me how he helped around his neighborhood fixing kids bikes. Those tools are still used to help others today and I’m striving to pay it forward with my new tools. I am keeping in touch with the Hunchak family and will contribute to this award in the years to come.

Alex Marchi receiving the Art Hunchak Memorial Award

As a student who works only part-time, financially it was a huge blessing. I appreciate the amount of work and planning the Hunchak family has put into this award. I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity. ”

 – Alex Marchi, 2017 award recipient

The Hunchak family hopes that every student who receives this tool set will carry on Art’s legacy in their unique way. The BCIT Foundation is very grateful for the continued support of BCIT students. If you’d like to learn more, please contact our Annual Giving Team at or 604-432-8803.

Aircraft maintenance engineer builds a better future

Congratulations to Chrisaona Srey for receiving The University Women’s Club of Vancouver Bursary! Chrisaona is a fulltime BCIT student in the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Program (AME).  Even though she has a long way to go before graduation, she already has big ambitions for her future career. Being a female in a predominately male industry, she intends … Read more