Ten students have been awarded scholarships towards financing their tertiary education by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, and sponsors of the ‘I Believe’ Initiative Summer of Service (SOS) Programme.
In his remarks, at the scholarship presentation ceremony at King’s House on Thursday (August 31), the Governor-General underscored the importance of young persons being provided with meaningful opportunities to pursue education and promising career paths.
Through the programme, students dedicate their summer breaks to community service projects, for which they submit proposals outlining their plans and final reports on the work completed.
Supervisors oversee the projects and evaluate the students’ performance. Reports are then reviewed and outstanding participants matched with potential sponsors.
“This initiative does more than just reward academic excellence; it instils the values of volunteerism, compassion and civic responsibility. These are the qualities that will guide this cohort of SOS awardees to become diligent students, engaged citizens, and also the leaders of tomorrow. By investing in their education, we are investing in the future of this country,” the Governor-General said.
He shared that the 10 recipients emerged from an exceptional pool of candidates whose projects included imparting digital literacy skills to seniors, advocating for disabled youth and cleaning up beaches.
“They all address pressing issues and challenges and also offer meaningful solutions,” the Governor-General added.
Since the programme’s inception in 2013, more than 148 students have enrolled and more than $70 million invested in full and partial scholarships, book grants and other financial assistance.
The Governor-General noted that the generosity of sponsors and diligent efforts of the selection committee have created life-changing opportunities for promising youth across Jamaica.
“As I look at these radiant faces and eager ones also, I am not just hopeful but I am also deeply convinced that the future of Jamaica is in competent hands,” he remarked.
Scholarship recipient, Nowell Lewin Jr., who replied on behalf of the awardees, expressed the participants’ collective gratitude, noting that the scholarship programme recognises their dedication to community service.
“This scholarship will enable us to further our academic aspirations and create positive changes during our tertiary studies. I extend my hearty thanks to the sponsors for believing in the potential of Jamaica’s next generation,” said Mr. Lewin Jr., who will be pursuing a bachelor of laws degree at the University of the West Indies, Mona.
Meanwhile, five SOS scholarship recipients completed their tertiary studies and will be graduating this year.
They are Kyle Nunes who attained a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) in Tourism and Hospitality Management; Trishagaye Kelly, a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communication Studies; Stephanie Wright who read for a BSc. in Counselling; Tenese Levy who earned a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) ; and Moya Clarke, a BSc. in Economics.
Ms. Kelly, who tutored students and provided homework assistance to children in her community, highlighted that after completing her second year of studies, she was encouraged by her family to put a stop to her pursuit of a tertiary education due to financial and personal constraints.
She noted that receiving the scholarship was a miracle, as it helped her to complete the third and fourth year of her university journey.
“University was filled with many challenges and this programme took one of the biggest ones off my shoulders,” Ms. Kelly said.
Sponsors of the scholarship programme include the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Jamaica, Northern Caribbean University, the University of Technology, NCB Foundation, Derrimon Trading, First Regional Co-operative Credit Union, GraceKennedy Foundation, Newport-Fersan, Barita Foundation, Alfrasure, Dr. Mark Gonzalez, and the JMMB Joan Duncan Foundation.