Scholarship awardees urged to ‘think big’
Ten Jamaican college students were awarded scholarships from the Grace Scholarship Fund recently at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Regional Headquarters.
The fourth annual scholar-ship ceremony was awaited with much anticipation by the students, who hailed from various parishes across the country - Westmoreland, St Mary, and St James, just to name a few.
"This year, the award ceremony featured the most diverse group of students to date. I was excited that the assembly of students represented various academic programmes ranging from dentistry, computer science, and marine engineering, to finance, auto body mechanics, and biochemistry," said Charissa Lawrence, the founder and executive director of the Grace Scholarship Fund.
'Think big' was the key message shared by guest speaker Aubyn Hill, who is the current deputy president of the Jamaican senate and chief executive officer of Corporate Strategies Ltd.
He shared stories of his upbringing in the country parts of St Elizabeth and how he was able to attain academic and professional accolades both domestically and internationally.
He also encouraged scholarship recipients to thank their friends, family, siblings and parents who supported them throughout their journeys.
Hill enthusiastically closed his speech by pledging US$1,000 in donations to the Grace Scholarship Fund for awards to be distributed in 2018.
Guest speaker Ayanna Samuels focused her talk on self-actualisation and encouraged the students to remember that there are no rules. Samuels also reminded the group that anything is possible, using herself as an example - she holds three engineering degrees from the number-one engineering school in the world, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The 2017 Grace Scholarship Fund recipients include: Krisan Rodgers (University of Technology), Deveen Henry (College of Agricultural Science and Technology), Shara-Kaye Frater (Bethlehem Moravian College), Alrick Francis (University of Technology), Toni-Ann Rose (UWI), Peter Gardener (Jamaican-German Automotive School), Abiyola Carey (Sam Sharpe Teachers College), Chrisdale Dixon (University of Technology), Shamona Bailey (Caribbean Maritime Institute), and Shanashe Treasure (University of the West Indies).
"Historically, most of our donors have come from outside of Jamaica. This year, we could offer additional scholarships largely due to Jamaicans residing on the island making substantial donations. I'm thankful and elated that they have joined the group of esteemed donors. Frankly, Grace Scholarship Fund would not be able to help students without the financial support of individuals on and off the island," said Lawrence.
"We are already starting to plan for next year's scholarships. Instagram has been our main marketing tool, and we encourage students, their parents, and anyone interested in learning more about our scholarship offerings to follow our Instagram handle: @gracefund."