Corporate women fête Hope Elliott Memorial scholars

Sunday, April 08, 2018

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The fifth cohort of the Hope Elliott Memorial Scholarship — Kalicia Munn and Danielle Samuda of The Queen's School — got the opportunity last Wednesday to sit at the feet of some of Jamaica's leading female corporate figures at a celebratory luncheon in their honour at the Valencia Suite of Spanish Court Hotel.

They got lessons from their life experiences and career advice.

The corporate figures were Alysia Moulton White, Sagicor's manager of promotions and special projects; Catherine Goodall, project development manager of Food For The Poor; Carmen Rives, deputy head of mission, Embassy of Spain in Jamaica; Danielle Cunningham, LASCO Manufacturing beverages marketing manager; Carlette DeLeon, managing director of Breakthrough Communications and chair of the Hope Elliott Memorial Scholarship; Kerry Spencer, sister-in-law of the late Hope Elliott, and owner of Salon Innovation; Anna Ward, project officer of the CB Facey Foundation; Danielia McLean, marketing manager of Honey Bun (1982) Limited; and Shallimar Reynolds, guidance councellor of The Queen's School.

The scholarship offsets two years of tuition and school expenses for the recipients and offers personality and career-building lessons over the period 2017-19.

Since the announcement of the awards, at a special devotion on Monday, November 20, 2017, Munn and Samuda have undergone two sessions: communication skills training, with Paula-Ann Porter-Jones; and protocol and etiquette from certified trainer Dania Beckford.

They are scheduled for a professional photography session and networking opportunities with clients of Breakthrough Communications as well.

Munn received a glowing recommendation from her year group co-ordinator and geography teacher Lance Graham, who described her as a hard-working, well-mannered and an effective leader.

She maintains an 'A' average despite significant challenges. Having lost her mother at 12 years old due to cancer, she was left in the care of her grandmother and ill father. Though unemployed, her father was resolute that nothing would deter his daughter's pursuit of success. He sacrifices medication funds, provided by his sister, to send his daughter to school daily.

“The money is in most cases insufficient, but I try to be satisfied with what I get because I see the problems he faces in order to provide for me financially,” the young woman shared Wednesday.

She describes the sacrifice as heart-rending, however, she uses it as a driver, determining to overcome the challenges and not be daunted by her circumstances.

The same can be said of Samuda.

Her single-parent family has its fair share of challenges, especially when plagued by unemployment and illness. Danielle has undergone several surgeries and has two others to complete. In spite of all this, she has also maintained an 'A' average and remains active in school.

“I can proudly say that I am an aspiring neurologist and neurosurgeon. The neurological aspect of medicine is often neglected. Upon recently reading about the death of a child mascot from neuroblastoma, I asked myself, 'What if I could one day help to fight it?' I would prefer leaving the indelible mark of saving many lives than as the world's wealthiest female, due to my altruistic nature and my belief in stewardship,” she explained.

The corporate women remarked that the pair of young girls are the epitome of brilliance and stand as an example to their peers that excellence can be achieved, no matter the circumstances.

Carlette DeLeon, who is Elliott's adopted niece, said the scholarship was a passion project for her Auntie Hope.

“Hope Elliott was very passionate about the school and betterment of the students, as she was a part of the first girls to graduate from The Queen's School. In the almost 10 years since her death, we have been happy to impact 10 young women in Auntie Hope's name. For each cohort, the strength and excellence displayed the scholars are deserving of this reward,” Deleon said.

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