Youth balances Kamloops post-secondary with Merritt lifestyle
Many of those graduating this year from Merritt Secondary School will have a similar story as Jake Wessel three years from now.
The 20-year-old has lived in the Nicola Valley his whole life and is now studying at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.
Wessel lives and studies in Kamloops when classes are in session. This summer he is spending his days at the Merritt Library as the summer student for the reading program.
What brings him back?
“I loved growing up here,” he said. “I’ve been biking my whole life and you can take a look in any direction here and you can go bike on trails on every mountain.”
Wessel also takes advantage of the local skate and jump park to perform bike tricks.
“You can find so much to do here; you can find your own space because you’re not crammed into a concrete jungle,” he said. “Me and friends would sometimes make jumps out of 2x4s and set them up at the lake and jump into the water.”
He was also active in lacrosse. His father helped develop the Nicola Valley Thunder Lacrosse Association.
Wessel played for several years, but underwent several surgeries which caused him to stop playing when he was in Grade 9.
“It’s a great place to live,” he said. “You get all four seasons, unlike on the coast where there is 360 days of rain.”
Wessel is now studying law at TRU and hopes they will expand the program so that he can graduate from there with a law degree.
He said the adjustment from Merritt to Kamloops was easy because he attends there with several friends from high school.
In fact, the building he lives in houses eight people he knows from Merritt.
Now, he is gearing up to conduct the summer reading program at the Merritt Library.
“So far it’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “We’ve had a couple of kindergarten kids come in and we’re all having a lot of fun so far. I never know what’s going to happen in a day.”
Registration for the reading program started Tuesday.