Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer
EWARTON, St Catherine:
Fifteen-year-old Tashae Thompson, a fifth-form student at Dinthill Technical High School in St Catherine, is among 53 proud recipients of Windalco's 2011 Educational Bursary.
"I am very grateful, because my mother is having it hard, because she is the only person taking care of me right now. So I'm grateful for the contribution towards my education," an excited Thompson told The Gleaner after she received her award, presented at a ceremony at Windalco's sports club in Ewarton on Thursday.
Equally elated was Sanya-Lee Howell, first-form student at St Andrew High School for Girls.
"I thank God for this award, because Windalco is trying to reach out to children. Back to school has been a lot of stress for the parents and I think it's really good. I am really happy," the Ewarton Primary past student said.
For 16-year-old Hawaine Hutchinson, a McGrath High School fifth former aspiring to become a mechanical engineer, Windalco's assistance will boost his endeavour.
"I feel great to know that Windalco has given me an award that can help me with my school expenses and boost my chance of achieving my career goal," he told The Gleaner.
Like the students, the parents were equally delighted. Thompson's mother, Pansia Allen, beamed with pride as she related how Windalco has been helping to cushion the effects of back-to-school demands.
"I'm very proud and happy because Windalco has always been doing things for us. At the initial stage of her passing for Ardenne High, before she was transferred to Dinthill, Windalco contributed to her going to school, and every year they assist with books and so on," a grateful Allen explained.
In her reply on behalf of the recipients, Rachael Thomas, mother of Rajae Taylor, second-form student at St Jago High School, expressed gratitude to the bauxite company for disbursing $265,000 to the recipients, who hail from Ewarton and adjoining communities in St Catherine.
"With a contracting economy and a shortage of monies to purchase basic items for our families, it is great that this com-pany can grant back-to-school assistance to our children and young adults," Thomas said.
In the meantime, Kayon Wallace, Windalco's senior information and public affairs officer, told The Gleaner that investing in education has always been one of the company's top priorities.
"Education, we believe, is one vehicle that can empower young people, so we have made it one of our top priorities in our social projects and programmes," Wallace said. "We want to ensure that these young people are given the best shot that they can get to complete their studies, to empower themselves to be equipped ... acquire a job and make a meaningful contribution to society."