Wed | Sep 20, 2017

St Thomas scholars seek to elevate parish

Published:Thursday | April 28, 2016 | 4:00 AMShanna Monteith
Shanese Watson

Shanese Watson, of Prospect, St Thomas, not only has big dreams for her future but also for her home town. Watson, the recipient of the 2014 Governor General's award for Excellence in Academics and Community Service, is the managing director of Young Scholars Inc, a parish-focused programme for improving academic and co-curricular performance through the implementation of youth projects.

Watson told Rural Xpress that initially, she wanted to become a lawyer.

"Realising I could not afford it, I switched to communications and marketing," she said. She studied at the University of the West Indies.

She revealed that her successes did not happen overnight, but instead required a lot of sacrifice, commitment and guidance.

"Generally, I have always wanted to be a philanthropist. I wanted to be involved in projects that could make a difference in the environment or in lives of youth," she said.

"In 2014 before completing university, I decided I wanted a change in my parish, and I realised that we have youth unemployment and literacy issues. So, with the assistance of the governor general's programme for excellence, I was able to launch our programme (Young Scholars Inc). We have awarded over 35 students in the parish for excellence in academics, co-curricular activities and service," she said.

Watson, who also serves as president of the St Thomas Youth Empowerment Associa-tion, told Rural Xpress of the upcoming inaugural staging of the Young Scholars Youth Conference and Award Ceremony, which is set for May 19, 2016.

"It will be held at the Anglican Church Hall in Morant Bay. We will award 50 students and have keynote speakers who will address career and leadership, human rights and youth entrepreneurship. The Young Scholars team is planning to execute more career-oriented seminars that will begin in the summer. So far, we have launched two reading programmes, and we plan on extending it to all primary and high schools in the parish. This reading programme will not only help in increasing the literacy rate, but overall how students view the different stages of learning which would incorporate interactive games."