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GraceKennedy awards $1m scholarship to O’Hara

Published:Tuesday | March 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Michael Ohara and his mother Kereen Williams.

KINGSTON:

Just ahead of the March 24-28 staging of the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Championships, Calabar High School's Michael O'Hara has already received some exciting news.

GraceKennedy has announced that it has awarded the outstanding schoolboy athlete a scholarship valued at $1 million, $500,000 per academic year for two years.

The scholarship is retroactive to September 2014.

"Michael has demonstrated over the years that he is a quality athlete. His accomplishments, so far, have been extremely impressive, and we know his future is very bright. GraceKennedy has a track record of supporting our young people, especially in the areas of education and sports, and we decided that we wanted to work with Michael to help him realise his dreams in both these areas," said group CEO Don Wehby.

Wehby also disclosed that in order to maintain eligibility for the scholarship, O'Hara, now in lower sixth form, has to remain in good standing with the school by maintaining the academic standards required for inclusion on the school's track and field team. He must also maintain the deportment and disciplinary standards required by Calabar.

"We want him to do his best on the track, but we are more interested in his complete and overall development as a productive member of society," the CEO added.

Eighteen-year-old O'Hara was Champion Boy at 'Champs' for three years running - 2011, 2012 and 2013 - creating a new record of 13.45 seconds in the Class Two 100m hurdles in 2013. At the recent (February 28) Gibson-McCook Relays, which many use as an indicator for Boys and Girls' Championships, O'Hara was part of the Calabar team which reset its own Jamaican high school Class One 4x100m record from 39.61 to 39.32 seconds.

O'Hara's mother, Kereen Williams, expressed excitement at the GraceKennedy scholarship.

"For years, Michael has been saying he wants to be a part of the GraceKennedy family. I always told him he was young and that it would happen at the right time. Now the time has come. We are all very happy about it," she said.