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UWI medical student among COJO scholars from state homes

Published:Thursday | September 11, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Greta Bogues, senior director of corporate affairs and external communications for J.Wray and Nephew presents a tuition cheque valued at US$5,000 to Mackoy McNish who is studying medicine at UWI Mona. Gary Williams, chairman/founder of COJO, Dennis Hawthorne, Opposition Leader Andrew Holness and Dr.Maurice Smith, director of National College for Educational Leadership, look on. Rudolph Brown/Photographer

Nineteen-year-old Mackoy McNish has been in state care since he took his first breath and had to endure being separated from the mother to whom he was born while she was still an underage schoolgirl.

Mackoy grew up with strangers whom he would eventually grow to call family.

Despite the broken bond between mother and child, he remained focused throughout his schooling and took his place among first-year medical students at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, on Tuesday, after he had given up hope that he would be able to afford the tuition.

"When I got accepted to do medicine, I didn't know how I was going to fund it. For the first week, I was doing the pharmaceutical programme at UTech (University of Technology)," he said.

COJO awards scholarships

Yesterday he was among four former wards of the state who refused to let their socio-economic conditions cripple their academic aspirations, and were each awarded scholarships from the New York-based Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) valued at US$5,000.

COJO also provided the youths with HP laptops valued at US$500 each during a scholarship luncheon held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston..

Mackoy, a St Mary High School alumnus, earned nine grade ones and one grade two in Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exams and earned four grade ones and four grade twos in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations.

Mackoy, who is now reunited with his mother, recalled: "In 1996, the Child Development Agency said I should stay with a lady in an adjoining community while she went to school.

Judi-Ann Oldacre, another of the four awardees, is reading for a first degree and minor in French and Spanish at the Shortwood Teachers' College, while Kemar Henry is studying dentistry at UTech and Ruth-Ann Hamilton is reading for a first degree in accounting at UWI Mona.