28 CASE students awarded alumni scholarships
Twenty-eight students of the College of Agriculture Science and Education have this year been awarded scholarships by the Ole Farmers Association, (OFANA) the school’s alumni body in the United States’ northeast region.
The scholarships are valued in excess of US$32,000.00.
OFANA represents graduates of The Jamaica School of Agriculture, The Government Farm School, and its successor colleges, the College of Agriculture and the College of Agriculture Science and Education. Founded in 2007 by the late Errol Webley, Wendell Codner, and Norma Jarrett, the current president, OFANA was created exclusively to promote the sector by providing educational opportunities to deserving students pursuing degrees in agriculture and related sciences at the college level. “Since its inception, OFANA has achieved significant and noteworthy accomplishments. I am humbled and proud to share that since our first scholarship disbursement inJanuary 2012, our noble organisation has presented, to date, 90 scholarships to CASE students, with a cumulative value of US$92,400.00 - (J$13, 860, 000.00). The latest scholarship disbursement was recently announced May 29 at the annual general meeting where OFANA awarded 28 students possibilities to pursue agricultural science degrees at the college level,” Jarrett reported.
The group also made donations to assist the students’ remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The coronavirus impacted the lives of everyone, OFANA, and our donors recognised the severe effect it had on the students at CASE with the distance learning. We donated 50 laptops to deserving students in September 2020. The need was greater than anticipated, so we launched a second-wave drive and subsequently donated an additional 101 brand-new Dell laptop computers in April 2021 for a cumulated 151 brand-new computers as well as the Microsoft software and on-boarding,” Jarrett said.
In addition to the scholarships, OFANA has built and equipped a plant tissue culture lab at CASE at a cost of US$120,000.00 (J$15million). The facility’s mandate is to generate disease-free planting material in support of the Government’s agricultural policy on food security.
It will also provide practical competency-based training to students as well as serve to generate an income stream in later years.
She said further that the association is currently sourcing microscopes for another lab in the Plant Science department.
“OFANA is proud of their legacy and contribution in ensuring a sustained cohort of trained agriculture practitioners to lead farmers in the revitalisation of the sector and truly mitigate the reliance on imported foods to our island,” Jarrett said.
This year, in celebration of Jamaica’s 60th jubilee anniversary and OFANA’s 15th anniversary, the association has partnered with Trees that Feed, which donated 75 fruit trees to be planted by scholarship recipients on the CASE campus. The school administration will select the trees needed, and they will be transported to the school.
To support its scholarship outreach, OFANA will be hosting its annual fundraising dinner dance on December 10 at the Stamford Marriott Hotel and Spa in Connecticut. The event is the major fundraising affair to fund the scholarship programme.
Keynote speaker at the dinner will be US judge Valene Mc Masters, whose parents are Jamaicans.