Bursaries a key ingredient for success

Bursaries a key ingredient for success

Recent grad gives back to Baking and Pastry Arts students

For as long as Jalaney Klassen (Baking ’16) can remember, food has been a pillar of her Mennonite heritage. As a child, she learned to bake alongside her mother, whose vast knowledge stemmed from recipes passed from one generation to the next.

As she grew up, Klassen fed a rising interest in baking wedding cakes by binging on TV shows like Cake Boss and trying her hand at decorating cakes with the buttercream piping set she got for her 17th birthday.

In 2015, Klassen came to NAIT from hometown La Crête, Alberta. Moving from the remote hamlet of 2,000 people was a big adjustment. Despite the initial shock, Klassen thrived in the Baking program.

“We learned the science behind baking – the interaction of ingredients and how to build a recipe,” she says.

Nearing the end of her first semester, Klassen, like many students, struggled financially. With winter tuition and rent looming, she applied for and was selected for three scholarships and bursaries, including the Noralta Lodge Baking Scholarship.

“I knew right then that I would someday give back.”

“When I received that support, it was just a sigh of relief,” she says. “I knew right then that I would someday give back.”

Moving onto a new chapter

Klassen now goes by Driedger after getting married to husband Josh in their hometown La Crête.  As she embarks onto the next chapter, she is looking forward to opening her own wedding cake business - and dreams of some day expanding with a dessert food truck.

Thinking about the impact bursaries had on her life, Klassen says it was an easy decision to give back to other students – much like the donors who supported her when she needed it.

In 2018, she created the Jalaney Klassen Bursary, disbursed annually to help a second-year Baking and Pastry Arts student with preference to those who have to relocate to attend the program.

“I know just how far this support goes for a lot of these students because I was one of those students."

“I know just how far this support goes for a lot of these students because I was one of those students,” she says.

For Brynn Burdett (pictured right), who had moved from Calgary to attend NAIT, she recieved the bursary at just the right time. Nearing the end of her program, her student loans were starting to run out .

"I was definitely happy and excited to have been selected," she says. "I want to say thanks to Jalaney. It's pretty amazing that she is giving back to support  students."

In early 2019, Klassen returned to campus for the  President's Society Celebration, an annual event where she was recognized among  NAIT’s key individual donors for their contributions to  students. 

“I'm just really thankful that I had the opportunity to give back.”

Find out more about making your impact by becoming part of the President's Society.

Published on April 12, 2019