Sat | Aug 18, 2018

Church gives hope to kids for back-to-school

Published:Sunday | August 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Reverend Dr Peter Garth of Hope Gospel Assembly stands with Shari-Simone Ferguson (left), Samantha-Shae Ferguson and Kourtnie Stephenson (right) during the Hope Gospel Assembly's annual back-to-school fair yesterday.
Niro-J Rowe holds her little sister, Jheanelle Rowe, at the fair. -photos by Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

More than 100 children were awarded back-to-school scholarships and grants during the Hope Gospel Assembly sixth annual back-to-school fair held yesterday at the church's Old Hope Road, St Andrew, compound.

In addition, more than 1,500 children left the church with smiles on their faces and a variety of back-to-school goodies.

The scholarships and grants, valued at between $5,000 and $25,000, are to aid the students in the upcoming school year.

The students were awarded the scholarships in recognition of their hard work and results achieved in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), as well as for maintaining averages above 70 per cent in school.

Twelve-year-old scholarship awardee Kourtnie Stephenson, who will be attending Hampton School next month, scored a 90 per cent average in the GSAT. She is a past student of Catherine Hall Primary School in Montego Bay, St James.

"I really think I deserve this scholarship and I worked really hard for it," said Stephenson.

"You know with everything you do, it is best that you give it your all and that's what I did in GSAT," she added.

Stephenson's mother told The Sunday Gleaner that her daughter, who did Social Studies at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate level when she was 10, scoring a grade two, gave her a handwritten letter to deliver to Ruel Reid, principal of Jamaica College. The letter outlined why Stephenson believed Reid should open the school's sixth form to girls as she thinks the school is one of the best.

Dr Peter Garth, the senior pastor of the Hope Gospel Assembly, said that the church has been helping children with back-to-school preparations for the past 32 years and he believes that every child deserves to have a dream.

"Last year we never had all we need for the fair, but this year we are able to give a total of 157 scholarships," said Garth.

"These students really deserve these scholarships as 82 per cent of them are performing way above our expectations, and so we believe that education is the power of the powerless and if a child has a dream, then it is a motivation for that child to stay in school," he further said.