In a commitment to join in the push to better educate the nation's children, Secrets Resort and Spa has donated 10 scholarships to the children of 10 of their employees, amounting to $500,000.
Located at Freeport, Montego Bay, representatives of the 700-room twin property handed out the scholarship cheques to senior managers and line staff during its quarterly staff awards dinner recently.
As the recipients' names were called, a packed room of staff members cheered, signalling their approval of the scholarship scheme, now in its second year.
"At Secrets, we do not think only about the employees, we want to also reach out to their families and communities. When we reach out to the families, there is a much bigger impact overall," said Emilio Huhn, general manager.
An ardent crusader for educational development at the highest level, he strongly agrees that it is only through education that a nation and its people can rise above their socio-economic challenges. Consequently, he will make the scholarship programme an annual event at the resort.
The Secrets scholarship programme was implemented in August 2012 as a way of recognising employees' children who have performed and are performing excellently at various levels.
To be eligible, children must attain a 90 per cent and above average at the GSAT level; CXC/CSEC students must achieve five or more distinctions, while first- and second-year university students should achieve a grade point average of 3.5 and above.
"In commemoration of Jamaica's 50th anniversary of Independence, we created a golden tuition grant. The employees were overwhelmed by this gesture and we decided to make it an annual award," explained Andrea Allie-Thorpe, director of human resources.
Allie-Thorpe emphasised: "We believe in investing in the nation's future by ensuring our children are well educated. A good education gives our children a foundation for life."
Marcella Eldemire, one of the the recipient parents, expressed her gratitude for her 11-year-old daughter, who passed her GSAT and now attends Mount Alvernia High School. "I will be putting the money in her savings account and it will be used strictly for educational purposes. This is a really good programme and I am grateful to Secrets Resort."
Her colleague, Richard Brown,
expressed similar sentiments.
"My daughter's GSAT average was 90 per cent, which meant she met the criteria. The scholarship is a benefit to be earned, so I applied. I was extremely surprised. I never expected it. I think it is a very good programme and we are all extremely appreciative of it." Brown's daughter now attends Montego Bay High School.