If you’re in the mood for a bit of good news, this is it.
While schools in SVG typically open in the first week of September, and some even earlier, that was delayed this year for the obvious reason of the lingering effects of the volcano and, to a lesser extent, the effects of the pandemic. Which is why, in September, I met on a Zoom call with the scholarship panel to go over the applications to the Learning Center scholarship program to assign awards. It’s been a long year, which is one of the reasons that that call was so brilliant. Here were some people getting together to help some young people reach toward their academic and personal goals. Some of those goals were, literally, lofty. “My dream is to become a pilot,” wrote one student. Others were strikingly reasoned. “I would like to be an accountant because I can work in any industry, from fashion to entertainment, construction to non-profit.” One applicant summed up what all of them were really saying when she wrote, “I want to be one who can make a difference.”
The scholarship program has been a signature project for a long time, and those are the reasons why. It’s positive, encouraging, and it helps to make a difference, something it’s proven again and again. One of the past beneficiaries really did become a pilot. Another, Rhea Simmons, is at university in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, in her first year of an environmental studies degree. Kadeem Hazell is at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada, in his first year of an engineering degree. Another, Lauriel Stowe intended to become a volcanologist, which the country will always need.
So, when we met that day, that was the project we were participating in. These young people really are the pilots, and the teachers, and the people who will make a difference. They’ll lead by example, and, as is a requirement of the awards, will help mentor young people through the Learning Center.
To set the awards I met with people from across the island, those from various communities, who know the students and the families well. On the call were Aria Laidlow, Tylisha Miller, Donnet Simmons, Jessica Jaja, Duncan Almartin, and Solana Gooding.
The discussion was animated and rewarding because the panelists were so excited about the kids that we were discussing. At the end of the day, the recipients included the three top scorers from Bequia on the recent national exams. There are 14 secondary students, and support for them includes the ferry fare to attend schools on the mainland. There are also four elementary students, and support for them includes offsetting the cost of tuition to attend schools on Bequia. And one is attending a local post-secondary program, which is a first for us, though we intend to help many more students attend post-secondary institutions within the CARICOM nations in the years ahead. So, it’s with sincere delight that we announce this year’s recipients:
- Those attending elementary programs are Lydia Simmons, Kylie Leone Richards, Jerickson Pollard, and Jovel Sam.
- Those attending secondary programs are Mikayla Myers, Luke Duncan, Zoe Douglas, Lamont Greg, Otica Williams, Zionijah Janraldo Osborne, D’yonnie Quashie, Caileigh Lewis, Jacob Derrick, Lemuel Richards, Kaymrea Henville, Callique Peterson, Kaylee Stowe, and Malachi Pierce.
- We’ve also awarded a post-secondary scholarship to Jenique Glynn, who will be attending ADE. Primary Teacher Education program at the Division of Teaching Education at St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College.
Congratulations to all. We know you’ll do great things and, through that, will inspire others to do the same.