Thu | Jan 23, 2020

Turner headlines Ja Scholarship Convention

Published:Saturday | October 26, 2019 | 12:13 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer
In this file photo from August 1997, Jamaica’s Inez Turner competes in the women’s 400m event at the IAAF World Championships in Athens, Greece.
In this file photo from August 1997, Jamaica’s Inez Turner competes in the women’s 400m event at the IAAF World Championships in Athens, Greece.

FORMER Jamaican middle-­distance runner Inez Turner will be one of the hosts at this year’s US/Elite Jamaica Scholarship Convention and College Fair to be held at the Jamaica Conference Centre on Saturday November 2 at 8 a.m.

Turner will be joined by former St Andrew High School For Girls ­athlete Keisha Thorpe, president of the organising body and ­director of the Liaison International Scholarship (Programme). The guest speakers are Olympians Vilma Charlton and Christian Stokes; retired professional ­basketball player Kimani Friend and Demar Murray, back from Doha, Qatar, where he was a reserve ­member of Jamaica’s men’s 4x400m team at the IAAF World Championships.

The organisation, which was established in 2005, is a member of the United States Association of Track and Field (USATF) and the Potomac Valley Association in Maryland. The founders, Treisha Thorpe and Keisha Thorpe, both former students of St Andrew, established the organisation to assist student athletes who come from a background of poverty to be able to pursue a debt-free ­tertiary-level education.

With the realisation that student athletes lack access to resources and scholarship opportunities for college, the Thorpe sisters developed the Liaison International Scholarship Programme, which focuses on using a convention and college fair to bring the resources to student athletes and help them gain tertiary education.

The first conventions were held in the US, and as the international population grew, the sisters decided to take the event to Kingston in 2015. They held the event in Montego Bay in 2016, and in 2017, they took the convention team on the road to select schools in Jamaica. Last year, the event was hosted in The Bahamas but is now back in Kingston for its fourth local staging.

So far, the programme has helped many students with ­paying Scholastic Aptitude Test fees, NCAA fees, college ­registration and housing fees, Penn Relays Scholarships and negotiated ­hundreds of full scholarship awards for student athletes to US colleges and universities.

“The event will be free to all ­athletes of all sports,” Keisha told The Gleaner. “There will be ­information on local and US ­colleges, and athletes will get an opportunity to speak to coaches one-on-one and learn about ­college scholarships.”