Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
Sagicor Life Jamaica has reinforced its commitment towards the advancement of education in Jamaica by awarding 16 students with five-year academic scholarships valued at $125,000 each for the duration of their secondary education.
Each year, with the assistance of the Ministry of Education, Sagicor identifies students who have performed exceptionally well in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT). Four boys and twelve girls make up the sixteen students on this year's list of awardees.
Chairman of Sagicor Life Jamaica R. Danny Williams said the scholarships are a direct reflection of dedication on the part of the teachers, parents and the awardees who continue to excel and thus deserve the recognition of not only Sagicor but of the nation itself.
"Sagicor Life Jamaica is committed to assisting with the development of Jamaica's youngest and brightest minds; so that they can go on to impact our society in positive and significant ways. This gesture represents a part of our commitment to education, and we are happy to contribute to this endeavour," Williams said.
The keynote speaker, Jamaica's Youth Ambassador Tameka Hill, encouraged the awardees to believe in themselves and work hard towards their goals, noting that they would not be able to do so without an education. "I know it is not easy to do well in school. But failure should never define you, you have to let them teach you, show you how to do things differently next time. You have no excuse for failure," Hill said.
"No matter what you want to do with your life, I guarantee that you will need an education to do it. You want to be a doctor, teacher, police officer, nurse, architect, a lawyer or a member of the military, you are going to need a good education for every single one of those careers," Hill added.
Since 2009, the awardees have grown to include the JTA/Sagicor Champion Boy and Girl for their outstanding athletic ability displayed at the JTA/Sagicor National Athletic Championships. Mackaela Fraser and Kristoff Darby are this year's recipients and both are excited to receive their scholarship awards.
"I feel so good. I worked hard for it and I am looking forward to settling down in high school," Darby said.
This year the awards take the number of beneficiaries to 244 since the programme began in 1994. The programme was designed to provide scholarships on a merit basis to the children of members affiliated to both the private - and government-sector group plans.
List of awardees: