Sashae Cooke hopes to contribute to economic development
At 19, Sashae Cooke says she is looking forward to attaining a degree in economics and readying herself to make a mark, to help with the economic development of Jamaica.
“I believe that a degree is an admission ticket for one’s future desires and life goals as, most times, a college degree is a necessary tool needed to achieve this. In today’s society, it is difficult to obtain a steady job without first obtaining a degree, it makes life more rewarding.”
She said: “My goal is to become an economist. The motivating factor behind this career choice is to care for my family as they have cared for me. Growing up, there was always a feeling of helplessness and guilt that surfaced when I was not able to aid my family in their hardships. Having studied economics for the last four years of high school fuelled a passion in me. I became more interested in how the economy operated and how I could pass this knowledge along to my siblings and parents. I used this passion to drive my studies and scored first place in my mock Economics exams for the last three years. In high school, I have managed to obtain leadership roles such as form captain, vice form captain, the assistant activities coordinator for Quiz Club, and treasurer for Korean Language Club.”
Sashae’s most recent achievement is the award of the Burger King’s Lois Sherwood Scholarship, valued at $900,000. This has paved the way for her studies at The University of the West Indies.
Elated and feeling “truly accomplished”, she says, “I plan to not only analyse the Jamaican economy in an attempt to help it, but also plan to help students who have suffered not only financially but also mentally. I would like to use the gained knowledge from economics, along with my skills in the arts, to start a small business to support my family. I am also going to devote some free time to advocate for the mental health of Jamaican students. I wish to make my skills useful and make a difference, one person at a time.”
Cooke is also keen on community development, “ the act of giving and helping without an incentive aids in building moral character. Though there is no fiscal incentive provided, community service has helped me grow as a person and make connections in ways I had not done before. The St Andrew High School for Girls has a mandatory community service programme, and from this I have completed over 45 hours of service. From my experience, it provides a feeling of purpose; helping others makes the world a better place, and that strengthens my sense of citizenship.”