Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
President of the Rotary Club of Montego Bay East Lilieth Gregg says the harsh economic climate in the country has stymied its ability this year to respond to more scholarship applicants.
Gregg was speaking at the Rotary Club of Montego Bay East's Bike-A-Thon scholarship awards ceremony on Wednesday at the Sunset Beach Resort Spa and Water Park, where 11 students received scholarships valued at $1.5 million dollars.
"Thirty-seven applicants came to us seeking help. We just wished we could have accommodated, not necessarily all, but more, but the economic times have become harder and are being felt by everyone." She, however, expressed gratitude to the sponsors whom she said were also assisting other children to realise their potential.
Tom Tyler, co-managing director of Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited, speaking on behalf of the sponsors, urged the recipients to perform well to achieve their goals and not to be swayed by distracting forces.
"Don't squander the opportunity. This gift of hope given to you resulted from your achievements. You have already shown your commitment to hard work and advancement and, as you move on to this next phase of your education, you will be exposed to many distractions and challenges. Don't be tempted, stay the course".
The lone male recipient, second-year medical student at the University of the West Indies, Western Jamaica campus, Jason Bowen said the scholarship award has come as a blessing, affording him the ability to pursue his academic dream.
"This has shown me that hurdles, however, insurmountable they may seem, can be overcome by controlling our fears and working relentlessly to achieve our goals."
Another recipient, Jordianne Samuels, said she was grateful for the scholarship after having witnessed the demise of many talented individuals who posses the potential and qualifications required to pursue tertiary education but lack the necessary resources.
Gregg said the Rotary Club of Montego Bay East has already secured $1.2 million towards scholarships for 2013, based on the renewal of sponsorship commitments, so they should be able to offer additional scholarships next year.