‘Access equals opportunity’
Pocket Rocket Foundation ups scholarship allocation; 7 student-athletes awarded
At the 10th staging of the annual Pocket Rocket Foundation Awards Ceremony, seven student-athletes from six high schools across the island received scholarships valued at over $100,000 each.
The ceremony held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston saw Fraser-Pyrce presenting scholarships to Ranicka Bryan, a netball player who attends the Convent of Mercy Academy; Athilia Pryce, a track and field athlete who attends Clarendon College and Zavier Brown, a track and field athlete from York Castle High.
Football player Kymani Francis, a student of Alphansus Davis High; Kaysian Sewell of Wolmer’s High School for Girls; Cael Samuels, a footballer player of Wolmer’s Boys School and Euvia Bennett, a track and field athlete of St Elizabeth Technical High School were also among the recipients.
Out of 72 applicants, only seven were chosen to receive an academic scholarship to cover the cost of their tuition and school supplies. This year, with the help of sponsors including Nike, the foundation raised its student scholarship from $50,000 to $100,000 per student.
Also, as part of what is the most valuable scholarship ever offered by the Pocket Rocket Foundation, each student-athlete received a Digicel tablet valued at $25,000 and $2,000 credit; a $10,000 GraceKennedy food basket; a $15,000 book voucher; $15,000 Nike gift card; $7,500 Nike book bag, as well as a $10,000 Hi-Lo supermarket voucher.
The Pocket Rocket Foundation scholarships will run throughout the remainder of their high school careers once they continue to attend school, maintain good grades and participate in sports. Once a Pocket Rocket scholar, students are guided along personalised journeys from champions to change-makers with specialised programming focused on mental wellness, media training and etiquette, conflict resolution, volunteerism, and advocacy.
Fraser-Pryce, who was recently conferred with the Order of Jamaica for her sustained excellence in the sport of track and field, said she wanted to create space for other athletes and women like herself.
“When I started high school in 1999 at Wolmer’s Girls, I was privileged and blessed at the same time to have met a woman by the name of Jeanne Coke of The Wolmer’s Old Girls’ Association. She saw something in me that I didn’t see at all and started to fund my education, my books, my uniform, my lunch and everything. She showed me compassion and love in so many ways. And that’s where everything fuelled from,” Fraser-Pyrce said.
“Giving you this start is basically telling you that you too can see beyond where you are right now and have a bright future, and we believe that with the support of our sponsors, board of directors, the parents, the coaches, the school, we are able to give you access because access equals opportunity,” she added.
She also implored the parents of the scholarship recipients to do their best to support them along the way.
“I hope that you continue to excel in the classroom. I am not asking you to be perfect, but I am asking you to try and to do your best. It is also important that you go along the journey with them to provide support and make sure you are encouraging them to continue because it can get difficult, it can get stressful at times, but if they know that you are there to help and sustain them and cheer them on, it makes a difference,” she said.
The Pocket Rocket Foundation, a non-profit organisation, is dedicated to fuelling student-athletes’ futures and their community members so they can soar to new heights. Their mission is to enrich the lives of student-athletes by supporting their educational development and fostering sustainable community-building initiatives to enhance the lives of students and their families.
Through programming structured around basic needs, educational equity, sports, and community building, the foundation has been able to serve countless students across the island.