'Wagga' Hunt scholarship continues to give back
The memory of former veteran local coach, David 'Wagga' Hunt, who had almost 30 years' experience with football in Jamaica, continues to live on following his untimely passing in October 2007.
His illustrious legacy as a role model not only in football, but as a human being, has been highlighted each year with the presentation of scholarships to students from his alma mater, Kingston College, and from Calabar High School.
Hunt was mainly responsible for reviving football at Calabar, where he led them to their first title in 28 years in 2005, after just two years in charge. That year, they also won their first Olivier Shield title. This was an unprecedented move, as Calabar and Kingston College are arch-rivals.
However, Hunt decided to coach Calabar in an attempt to bridge the unfriendly rivalry between both schools.
This year, the organising committee once again offered two scholarships to a grade-eight student from Calabar and KC, valued at $100,000 each.
The scholarships were presented to Geovani Thomas of Calabar and Jevaughn Grantz of KC, who displayed commendable academic performance and attitude. They are also involved in sports and/or other extracurricular activities, and were deemed as in need of financial assistance.
Upper sixth-form students, Miguel Morrison of KC and Kamar Bennett of Calabar, having benefited from the scholarship initiative over the years, said based on the distribution of the funds, the scholarships adequately assists them in attending school. Morrison was one of the first recipients of the scholarship initiative.
"It helps me a lot because my parents do not have the burden of paying my school fees or paying for my CSEC examinations. I also receive books, lunch and a stipend, so I am grateful," Bennett said.
Both students, upon graduation from their respective institutions, will no longer be involved in the scholarship initiative.
They were also presented with David 'Wagga' Hunt memorabilia that will help to further forge a bond between both schools.
The scholarship period covers the students from grade eight to grade 13 at a cost of $600,000 each and covers tuition, books, lunch and other related expenses.
To date, 15 scholarships have been awarded and $4.3 million disbursed over the past six years.
According to Christopher Hunt, co-chairman of the Jamaica Chapter of the David 'Wagga' Hunt Memorial Scholarship Initiative, the family was touched by the support they received after 'Wagga's passing that they decided to keep his legacy alive by having a scholarship in his honour.
"We have events throughout the diaspora that help us and corporate sponsorship to fund the scholarship. In 2010, we were trying to decide if the venture was sustainable. However, we put in the work to get the necessary funding that has continued to forge a bond between both schools. We can be rivals, but not enemies," Hunt said, at this year's scholarship awards ceremony held at offices of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAJ).
Hunt is described as a hard-working administrator, and at the time of his passing was the general secretary of the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association and the now defunct Minor League Football Association. He is a former Meadhaven United FC Under-17 and national youth coach.
With the support of corporate sponsors, including Victoria Mutual Building Society, who have been on board since its inception and have recommitted for another six years; Supreme Ventures Limited; Proven Wealth Management; Sagicor; and other initiatives locally and overseas, Hunt stated that once the scholarship holders maintain good behaviour and academic performance, they will retain their scholarship entitlement.
Upper Sixth Form
Miguel Morrison - Kingston College
Kamar Bennett - Calabar
Lower Sixth Form
Emmanuel Williams - Calabar
Jevaughn Faulder - Calabar
Kevon Bartley - Kingston College
Chris-Anthony Campbell - Calabar
Ronaldo Ferguson - Kingston College
Hamani Henry - Kingston College
Delroy Mattherson - Calabar
Clovis Donegal - Kingston College
Tajh Williamson - Calabar
Geovani Thomas _- Calabar
Jevaughn Grantz - Kingston College