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L-R: Vance McPherson (VHS), David O’Rourke (Julie’s father), Ôdré Lefebvre (recipient), Lisa Arnold (VHS)

Ôdré Lefebvre travelled to Virtual High School on 19 October 2011 to receive congratulations on being the first recipient of the $1,000 Julie O’Rourke Memorial Scholarship from the faculty and staff of Virtual High School. Ôdré has been awarded this scholarship because she demonstrated exemplary artistic achievement in a variety of media; and more importantly, she has shown a strong promise to carry her talents into the future for the betterment of humanity. The staff at VHS felt that if Julie had met Ôdré, she would have been very impressed by her portfolio of work. Julie’s artistic creations were a medium by which she dialogued with the world around her. She had an extraordinary capacity to see both beauty and twilight in all subjects, and she communicated what she saw skillfully and empathetically. Although Julie can no longer create good works anew, VHS feels that Ôdré’s intersections with the world are worthy of Julie’s tradition and namesake. VHS hopes that Ôdré will continue to create and to share, carving her own path, living courageously, taking opportunities to grow and learn and above all, connect. VHS is honoured that Ôdré has shared herself with us and greatly anticipates updates and other correspondence from her in the future while she attends university. It is a great pleasure to know that the first recipient of a scholarship in Julie’s name is an artist so worthy. Congratulations again Ôdré.

Julie Ann Elizabeth O’Rourke, after a three year battle with a rare cancer called adenoid cystic carcinoma, passed away in March of 2011. That her love of life and people and adventure never diminished through that fight, in spite of extraordinary pain and persistent bad news, is testament to a strength of character far beyond extraordinary. Two months prior, she had celebrated her thirtieth birthday.