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Sagicor scholars feted

Published:Sunday | October 5, 2014 | 5:22 PMKeisha Hill
Rudolph Brown/Photographer Richard Byles (centre), president and CEO of Sagicor Group Jamaica and R. Danny Williams (second left), Chairman, Sagicor Group Jamaica chat with Alexis Onyonyor (left), 2014 Scholarship recipient, Alecia Butt, 2009 scholarship recipient and Timar Jackson (right), 2014 Rhodes Scholar.
Rudolph Brown/Photographer Richard Byles (right), president and CEO of Sagicor Group Jamaica and R. Danny Williams, (left) chairman, Sagicor Group Jamaica pose with Sagicor GSAT scholarship awardees at the Sagicor annual GSAT Awards Ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.

Sixteen students have been awarded five-year academic scholarships by Sagicor Life Jamaica, taking the total number of beneficiaries since the programme began in 1994 to 260. Each year, with the assistance of the Ministry of Education, the insurance company identifies students who have performed exceptionally well in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT).

Twelve girls and four boys comprise the 16 students on this year's list of awardees, of which ten of these students will be attending Campion College. This year, the Sagicor scholarship recipients have been awarded a bursary valued at $150,000 each, making the disbursements since its inception over $17 million dollars. These students will also receive moral support from Sagicor employees through the company's mentorship programme.

gsat preparations

One of the recipients, Dadrian Cole, will be attending Glenmuir High School in Clarendon. The past student of Foundation Preparatory School said it was hard work preparing for the GSAT Examinations. "I had to prepare seven days per week, and the time and schedule was hard. It was no fun leaving my warm bed to sit on a hard chair from 6:00 a.m. in the morning. However, my teachers Mr Gordon, Mr Brown, Mr Ingram and the principal, Ms Dennis, had an indelible mark on me and my future," Cole said.

Since 2009, the awards ceremony has grown to incorporate secondary scholarships awarded to the Jamaica Teachers Association/Sagicor Champion Boy and Girl for their outstanding athletic ability displayed at the JTA/Sagicor National Athletic Championships - an event sponsored by the insurance company. This year's recipients are Shanique Rowe - and she will attend the Edwin Allen High School - and Roamrio Mickiel, who will be attending Manchester High School.

Saneika Johnson, another recipient, will be attending the Montego Bay High School. With an overall average of 95 per cent, the past student of the Mount Herman Primary School in Westmoreland said her performance came as no surprise. "I told my mommy I would receive a scholarship even before I did the GSAT examinations. I studied with friends and also used past GSAT papers," Johnson said.


Her mother, Thameika Ramsay, a nurse, said she was nervous because her job did not allow her to spend the time that she needed to assist her daughter with the preparations. "Her grades are good, she reads a lot and is self-motivated. While in grade 5, I allowed her to sit in on the grade 6 extra classes. This also helped in her preparations," Ramsay said.

Meanwhile, Jamaica's 2014 Rhodes Scholar, Timar Jackson, in delivering the keynote address, implored the students to have dreams and go after them. "Human life, by its very nature, has to be dedicated to something. When you have dreams, what it does, is that, it gives your life meaning, and it gives you a sense of purpose. The lesson is: It is not always the dream that counts. Sometimes, it is the person you become in pursuit of your dream that really matters," Jackson said.

He also chided the students to pay close attention to their attitude and to ensure that they had a positive and persistent attitude. "Never view failures as final. Throughout history, there are many accounts of great people who have encountered significant failures and who have risen from their slumps to give the world some of the greatest inventions known to man," Jackson said.

Sagicor Life Jamaica is the leading life insurance group in Jamaica. The company commenced operations in 1970 as Life of Jamaica, the first locally owned Life Insurance Company and the first life insurance company to be listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.