Career & Education

PALAS awards 108 scholarships

Sunday, August 27, 2017

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Ruel “Rula” Brown, founder of Peace and Love Academic Scholarship (PALAS), broke down in tears at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel last week Saturday as he shared the impact the foundation was having on the lives of beneficiaries.

High on the list was Yemalla Edwards, who is scheduled to graduate from medical school next year.

Edwards, she said, bounced around on campus as he couldn't afford the fare to travel back and forth from home.

“That is the reason we do what we do, and it's also the reason we are reaching out to you to make next year an even better one for these students. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I am throwing it out that it takes just one individual to make a difference,” Brown said.

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips added his own voice to the appeal and lifted up PALAS as an example of commitment in finanical support.

The occasion was the seventh annual staging of the PALAS presentations at which Phillips was guest speaker.

“We all have an obligation to pay it forward, to assist someone following in the same path,” he told the gathering of PALAS board members, awardees and friends of the programme.

“There is something in their commitment that I want all of us to take. They, despite the glamour of the United States, still feel their own future on this piece of rock that we call Jamaica, and there is a message in that,” he said even as he encouraged others who have benefited to pay it forward when the time comes.

Phillips, while acknowledging that many educators have enabled the advancement of young people from various backgrounds, said education continues to be a developmental challenge for many, and stressed the need for students' associations and churches to play their role in the development of education.

Chairman of PALAS Patrick Campbell, a Washington-based attorney who hails from the troubled community of Jarrett Lane in Mountain View, reminded the awardees that, “It's not where you are from but where you are going.”

Sharing his own experiences growing up with the reality of living in the turbulent 80s, Campbell urged the students to keep their focus and work hard.

He, too, made the point that having benefited from the generosity and kindness of others, the onus is now on him to give back.

“To whom much is given, much is required,” he quoted from the Bible.

The Peace and Love Academic Scholarship Inc is a non-profit organisation that has offered bursaries to some 408 applicants from 88 schools to the tune of $32 million over the past seven years.

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