14 Jamaicans grab Ivy League spots
Nadisha Hunter, Staff Reporter
There has been a 40 per cent increase in the number of Jamaican students who have earned themselves places at America's most prestigious Ivy League universities after performing exceptionally well in the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) this year.
The number of students went up from 10 last year to 14.
Nine of the students are top performers at Versan Educational Services, a local institution that tutors Jamaican students for the SAT and helps them with the application process for universities in the US.
The students who are between the ages of 17 and 19 got between 2160 and 2290 out of 2400, placing them in the upper one percentile of scholarship awardees across the United States.
Jaquille Jones of Immaculate Conception High and Chevonae Walcott of Wolmer's Girls' School shared the top position with 2290 in the SAT and got into Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania, respectively.
The other Versan students are Gabrielle Rogers and Andrew Grant, who have been accepted to Princeton; Victoria Palmer for Cornell University; Sonam Khemlani and Mary Quant for the University of Pennsylvania; Ashley Rosen for Duke and Nicholas Brown for Dartmouth College.
Sandra Bramwell, executive director at Versan, said it was an unusual year as some of the universities have not taken Jamaicans in 12 years.
"I was happy to see that and also for the top four schools, Wolmer's Girls made it (to) one of the Ivy League schools this year which has never happened before, and it was nominated the top school for the country.
"We also have Glenmuir that came in and shared the spoils as well, so it was nice to see these schools pushing in against the usual Immaculate and Campion high schools," she said.
"It was an extremely competitive year, but for the top spoils, the financial aid was mixed. Last year, schools were apt to give more in aid. In the 17 years of Versan's existence, one can easily say that financial aid comes and goes and can be deemed cyclical," she added.
Bramwell said the students chosen were involved in their school community, have excellent grades and are excellent writers.
For the 17 years since its inception, Versan has helped some 350 students receive scholarships to universities overseas.
The other students who will be attending Ivy League schools are from Hillel, American International School of Kingston, and a student who did the SAT on his own.