Two students of the Greenwich All-Age School in Kingston, Romario Rowe and Chanel McGregor, who performed outstandingly in this year’s Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), have been awarded five-year scholarships valued $600,000 each towards their secondary education by state oil refinery, Petrojam Limited.
Both youngsters, whose results topped their school’s list of GSAT candidates, will each receive $60,000 per year to cover tuition, books, and other associated expenses. In addition to the scholarships, Romario also received special awards for being adjudged the Most Outstanding, and Most Disciplined Student, while Chanel was deemed the Most Congenial Student, during the 2012/13 academic year.
Other awards were also presented to youngsters at the institution for the period. These included: Most Improved Male Student, Richard Heslop; Most Improved Female Student, Carlene Dixon; Best Attendance, David Johnson; Outstanding Achiever, Nicola Nelson; and Top Mathematics Student, Sashell Clarke.
The students were presented with their awards during a special luncheon hosted by Petrojam at the Terra Nova Hotel in Kingston on Friday (August 9).
Romario, who will be attending Kingston College come the start of the 2013/14 academic in September, told JIS News that he is “very happy” to be recognised for his hard work. The twelve-year-old student said he is especially grateful to his parents and teachers for their help and support in guiding his academic development over the years.
Chanel, who will attend Ardenne High School, said she too is very grateful for the scholarship, and pleased that her hard work has paid off.
Both scholars will each be assigned a mentor from the staff of Petrojam, who will assist in providing them with guidance for scholarships’ duration. This, in keeping with the provisions of the entity’s scholarship awards programme.
Guest speaker, Education Officer, Special Education Unit, Ministry of Education, Dr. Hixwell Douglas, congratulated the awardees, noting that their hard work has yielded rich dividends.
He encouraged the students to stay motivated, particularly when they experience the inevitable challenges associated with secondary education.
“(You) are going to face challenges; (you) are going to meet difficult times. But (you) must not allow people to talk (you) out of (your) dreams. (You) must not allow the negative vibrations of things happening around you to rob you of the opportunity to grow and to learn,” he stated.
Dr. Douglas also urged other corporate entities to follow Petrojam’s example by offering scholarships and other forms of financial assistance to students in need of such interventions.
“The Ministry is encouraging partnerships of every sort so that, together, we can work to improve the educational product. In doing so, we will ensure that Jamaica will get to a stage where we will all be proud of our children, as they perform with excellence and make our country proud,” he remarked.
Greenwich All-Age School’s Principal, Bryan Guscott, expressed gratitude to Petrojam for their continued support, noting that the organisation’s assistance over the years has done much to positively influence the students’ lives.
He also congratulated the students on their excellent performances, and reminded them that they are just beginning their academic journey.
“I want you to treat this as your heat. You have gone through one round; you are now at the quarterfinal. So in another five years from now you will be doing another round of exams, as you sit your CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate),” Mr. Guscott stated, while encouraging them to stay focused and work hard.
Petrojam’s Managing Director, Winston Watson, reaffirmed the company’s commitment to the development of the Greenwich Farm, where the school is located.
“It is said that education is the best long-term solution to poverty in the developing world, and at Petrojam, we hold this to be a true factor. We believe that it is only through the empowerment of the nation’s youth that we will be able to solve some of the societal problems that we face,” he stated.
Since 2006, Petrojam has been recognising the academic achievements of Greenwich All-Age School’s top GSAT students, through scholarships awarded to the top male and female performers.
This endeavour forms part of the company’s corporate social responsibility programme aimed at increasing opportunities for educational advancement among persons in the Greenwich farm community, which is adjacent to Petrojam.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter