This year's Jamaica Flour Mills scholarship recipients at Thursday night's reception at the Terra Nova Hotel in St. Andrew.
THE JAMAICA Flour Mills Limited (JF Mills) has made a grant of $2.5 million in scholarships to nine students from across the island.
Eight of the students, who are attending the University of the West Indies (UWI) and the University of Technology (UTech), beat out more than 300 applicants to secure the Jamaica Flour Mills Foundation Scholarship. The other recipient, Blair, was awarded the Hart-Jacobs Scholarship, which is given to the children of employees. The two awards have helped 134 students and the Foundation has disbursed $12 million since its inception about 12 years ago.
"Words cannot describe how I feel," one mother, Dulcie Meikle, told The Gleaner as she watched her son, Cleon, accept his award in the presence of Managing Director of JF Mills, Jack Cwach, and President of the Jamaica Employers' Federation, Dr. Neville Ying.
Also attending to witness the presentation were UTech President, Dr. Rae Davis, and UWI Principal, Dr. Kenneth Hall, who told the audience that this was an example of what could be achieved when all society worked together because financing education was difficult even it was subsidised. The JF Mills' contribution represented a balance between increasing access to education and awarding excellence, he noted.
Medical student Cleopatra Patterson pledged to show the JF Mills team that its faith in her and the other eight awardees was not misplaced. "We are extremely honoured to be given this award (but) we are also humbled because there is no shortage of bright young minds which are waiting for financial assistance. Our purpose is to live up to the time and effort placed in us so that we can one day offer something in return," she said.
On behalf of the recipients, she thanked JF Mills and its Foundation, stating that if you "give a man a fish, you will feed him only one day (but if) you pay for his degree in fishery, you will feed him, his family, his community and even his country."
The scholarship was open to Jamaican students between 17 and 35 years but those who were chosen at Thursday night's reception at the Terra Nova Hotel in St. Andrew were under 25. They were chosen because of financial need, mainly, but academic performance, leadership qualities and the relevance of their degree programme to societal needs were contributing factors. The Foundation scholarship covers about 50 per cent of the students' overall need, including tuition, book and living expenses while the Hart-Jacobs Scholarship covers 75 per cent.