Jamaica Producers plants $850k in scholarship trust fund
Six St Mary students pursuing tertiary education this academic year will benefit from scholarships totalling $1.5 million from the Sydney A. Phillips Scholarship Trust Fund (SAPSTF).
SAPSTF, which provides scholarships for students raised and educated in St Mary, received a major donation of $850,000 from Jamaica Producers (JP) Group for the 2019-20 academic year.
According to Elizabeth Phillips, director of SAPSTF, the support of JP has been integral in the development of the trust, which began in 1994.
“JP has been our major supporter right from the very outset. From before we actually got going, they have been with us trying to determine how do we do this, where do we go with this idea,” Phillips said.
“Honestly, there have been several promises of a scholarship programme that never materialised, and we wanted to ensure that this became a reality, and we could not have done it without Jamaica Producers. They have been our major donor, but more importantly, they have been there to offer input, guidance, and direction when we have had challenges,” Philips added.
Aside from JP’s support, Phillips highlighted that the mettle and commitment of the students who pass through the programme are what drive them to keep the trust fund alive.
“We have been very impressed and amazed by the level of knowledge, maturity, and dedication of these young people in St Mary. And it really restores your hope in the future of this country when you see this talent that is there and this intent of purpose that is there,” Phillips said.
This year’s recipients are pursuing studies at the University of the West Indies (UWI), the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech), and the Mico University College.
Among the recipients who will receive $250,000 each towards their tuition for the 2019-20 academic year, are Cedella McKie, a second-year marketing major, and Xandrea Roach, second-year law student both from the UWI. From CMU are third-year marine engineering students Shando Buchanan and Shamona Bailey. Third-year land economy and valuation student from UTech Natola Watt has also been awarded, while Shereen LaTouche, a third-year science education major from The Mico University College, returns for her second year as a recipient.
JP Group Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Hall noted that JP remained as committed to the SAPSTF as it was at its inception 25 years ago.
“Our commitment to the communities in which we do business remains strong. It is for this reason that we continue to support the education of young people, particularly in St Mary, which is the home of JP Farms,” Hall said.
“As we celebrate 90 years in business, we remain keen on playing a role in helping to empower and assist the development of Jamaica’s brightest minds,” he added.
Over $13 million has been disbursed in scholarships and grants since the fund was established by the family of the late Sydney A. Phillips. Phillips, a former custos of St Mary. The fund is now administered by Elizabeth Phillips, daughter of the late Sydney Phillips, and funded in part by the Phillips family.
The SAPSTF assists students in the parish who display excellent academic performance and community involvement.
Phillips said that the Sydney A. Phillips Scholarship, also presents the idea of former scholars giving back to the students in St Mary in whatever way that they can.
“We hope that they, the scholars, will see, and this is something we are trying to develop as a scholarship, that you have one hand for taking and the other for giving. When you are in a position to give, you give back so that more youngsters can benefit from a programme like this. We are very pleased right now that our past scholars are funding more than one of the scholarships this year,” Phillips said.