Wed | Oct 28, 2020

Buju Banton provides scholarship to his alma mater - Named in honour of his mother

Published:Monday | August 17, 2020 | 12:16 AM
From left, Donovan Hunter, principal, Denham Town High School; Rosemary Duncan, director, Buju Banton Foundation; Tajay Bailey, scholarship recipient; Buju Banton and  Denese Callum, teacher, Denham Town High School.
From left, Donovan Hunter, principal, Denham Town High School; Rosemary Duncan, director, Buju Banton Foundation; Tajay Bailey, scholarship recipient; Buju Banton and Denese Callum, teacher, Denham Town High School.

Reggae icon and Denham Town High School alumni Mark ‘Buju Banton’ Myrie has established a scholarship in honour of his beloved mother Murdine Clarke. It will be awarded to financially challenged boys at his alma mater who, despite hardships, excel academically.

Fifteen-year-old Tajay Bailey is the first recipient of the Murdine Clarke Scholarship. An exemplary student who thrives academically, he is also respectful to school officials and peers. Tajay has been lauded as a resilient student who directs his energies to positive endeavours. The teen, whose mother is unwell and whose father is deceased, has been under the sole care of his grandmother. He will receive a grant totalling $100,000 for the procurement of school supplies.

Buju Banton pointed out that his foundation was established to assist students such as Bailey. “Born in abject poverty, I know what it is for a child to go without basic needs. I also know what it is to be a youth with big dreams and lots of determination but unable to achieve your destiny, due to lack of a helping hand. For this reason, I established the Buju Banton Foundation to ensure those youths have equal opportunities to succeed,” he explained.

Not surprising

This move is not surprising, as the Grammy-winning artiste has spoken about hardships in his song, Untold Stories. “ Opportunity a scarce, scarce commodity in these times I say. When mama spend her last and send you go class, never you ever play. It’s a competitive world for low- budget people, spending a dime while earning a nickel…

The scholarship presentation was made last Friday at Gargamel Music Inc in St Andrew. In counselling Tajay, Buju Banton said, “I am proud of you. At your age, as a student at Denham Town High School, I recalled sometimes going without due to my family’s financial challenges. Despite this, I had great dreams and ambitions of a successful career as a musician and remained focused on that goal. Take all the subjects taught at school seriously, especially writing and accounting, as those will prepare you to successfully function in the working world.”

An elated Tajay shared his dreams with his musical icon. “I am happy and feel blessed for being gifted the prestigious Murdine Clarke Scholarship. I will remain focused on my studies, as I look forward to serving Jamaica as a meteorologist,” the scholarship winner said.

Donovan Hunter, principal at Denham Town High School, stated, “Our school, more so its students, will benefit from this wonderful scholarship from the great Buju Banton and the Buju Banton Foundation.

We are grateful for his support. Though born in abject poverty, Buju Banton overcame tremendous obstacles to achieve prosperity. Many students born in the same socio-economic situation are motivated by him. We are thankful that he is a past student of Denham Town High School. He is one who has not forgotten his roots. We want more former students to do likewise.”

In July the Sunbeam Boys’ Home received much needed support as a result of Buju Banton’s festival song win. Banton was crowned the 2020 Jamaica Festival song winner, walking away with the prize purse of $3 million for his entry, I am a Jamaican. He donated all of his prize money to the home.