Career & Education

Courts awards 44 scholarships

BY JODI-ANN PATRICK
Career & Education writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 26, 2018

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Forty-four students across the island have this year been awarded scholarships and grants valued over $8 million by Unicomer under its Courts Jamaica brand.

Awards under the scholarship programme, tagged Dare to Dream and which is in its eighth year, were made at the Knutsford Court Hotel last week.

Business Unit Director at Unicomer Jamaica Ann-Marie Walters, in opening remarks on behalf of Managing Director Dennis Harris, highlighted the importance of the initiative and what it means to the company.

“This is an important event within the framework of our business. It reaffirms our commitment to continue 'Bringing Value Home' to Jamaicans not only through our furniture, appliances and electronics and our glasses,” she said.

“This programme certainly goes a long way in enhancing educational opportunities for scholars. It is noteworthy that through this programme, we have been able to provide financial assistance to over 2,500 students over the years.

“In fact, over the past 32 years we have invested in excess of $120 million in scholarships,” Walters added.

She later charged the recipients to be thankful to God, their parents, teachers and school for nurturing academic and intellectual talents; and to give back to society.

“I request that after you have successfully completed your intellectual pursuits, please go back and serve and contribute to your community and fellow nationals so that they can all benefit from your expertise,” she urged.

According to public relations officer at Courts Jamaica Renae McKenzie, this year's scholarship had over 700 applications, a factor which led the company to increase the number of recipients in each category.

“Normally we would give 28 GSAT students (one from each store) $100,000 each, 10 skilled students (enrolled at HEART/NTA) $50,000 each, six tertiary grants of $250,000 each and four full tertiary scholarships valued at $400,000 each. This year was extraordinary. It was very hard to select the recipients, yes, but extraordinary because we gave more and took on two full scholarships,” McKenzie explained.

Also, she said, because many of the skilled applicants were not yet accepted in their programme of choice, only one was selected for the scholarship this year.

“The money that we would have for skilled students, we decided this year to give two additional GSAT students $50,000 each, seven tertiary grants instead of six and take on two additional full tertiary scholarships,” noted McKenzie.

State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green, and broadcaster and entrepreneur Emprezz Golding were special guests at the function.

This year's full tertiary scholarship recipient, Kimberly Nembhard, is in her second year at The University of the West Indies. “To be honest, words cannot explain how I feel. Since sitting inside, I almost cried three times because I'm still overjoyed with the win. I started crying on the phone when I got the call. This changed my life and my family; they are so overwhelmed they, are so proud and this actually motivates me to do a lot better because I really didn't expect this. This is really a blessing for me. Even though I applied for a number of scholarships I really didn't expect to get a full one. I would advise everyone not to give up. I applied last year and didn't get it,” Nembhard told Career & Education.

The first student to have received a full tertiary scholarship has completed her degree. Asha-Kay Thompson, who has completed a BSc in International Relations with a minor in Spanish at The University of the West Indies, told the ceremony last week that she had no idea how she would have started university but Courts Jamaica and the Dare to Dream Scholarship Programme afforded her the opportunity.

“For me, obstacles are indicative of the greatness that lies ahead,” she said, adding that “all good things are preceded by chaos,” she said.

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