Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
The GraceKennedy Foundation spends more than two million dollars annually on the Carlton Alexander bursaries as a means of encouraging academic excellence among the dependents of GraceKennedy staff. This year, 27 bursaries were awarded to assist with educational expenses for the 2013/14 academic year.
The bursaries are named in honour of former chairman and chief executive officer of GraceKennedy, Carlton Alexander, and are made at the secondary and tertiary levels, beginning from entry into grade seven, and are renewed annually once the student maintains a minimum of a B average.
Fifteen female and 12 males received bursaries of $30,000, while the nine tertiary students received $100,000. Director of the GraceKennedy Foundation, Caroline Mahfood, said the staff was supported in this way because kindness begins at home.
"The students who were awarded bursaries this year have lived up to our company's values - hard work, persistence, commitment and high standards. Many applied and the selection process was very difficult because the children performed so very well," Mahfood said.
Guest speaker at the presentation ceremony, Dr Tonoya Toyloy Harris-Williams, a former bursary recipient, spoke about 'The Road to Success', encouraging the students to strive to achieve their own success in their respective areas.
"Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability. Look around you and see the persons who are doing well and aspire to do as well as they have done. It is also important to be disciplined. No matter how talented and great you are, you won't get the prize unless you are disciplined," Toyloy Harris-Williams said.
Following Carlton Alexander's death in 1989, GraceKennedy established the Carlton Alexander Memorial Fund with a grant of $4.5 million under the administration of the Foundation. It has since taken on the endowment of the James Moss-Solomon Senior Chair in Environmental Management, in addition to a myriad of scholarships.