Shantae Shand is off to Lafayette

By FALON FOLKES
Career & Education reporter

Sunday, May 06, 2018

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SHANTAE Shand firmly believes that her faith in God contributed to her academic success throughout her school years. A proud beneficiary through the AIM Higher Foundation, her outstanding performance landed her a US$300,000 scholarship to do a bachelor's degree in civil engineering at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, United States.

“Faith is a real, real thing. I pray about so many things and they come true. This couldn't be the work of man, this has to be God playing out his mercies and his grace in my life,” she told Career & Education.

The 19-year-old, who was attending the AIM Higher Foundation's official launch at St Andrew High last Wednesday, first became aware of free sessions at AIM through social media, and grabbed these few opportunities to get help from the institution.

Shand shared that the sessions were so helpful that she wrote a letter to AIM's owner Nicole McLaren-Campbell.

In her letter, she wrote, “If you could just reduce the price to a cost befitting my single mother, that would be perfect. If you gave me this to propel me I'm sure this would be a good representation for your brand”.

“She responded and said we needed to meet,” Shand said.

“I went into the meeting and I was waiting on her to come with the price. She said, 'What do you want to do? Give me your stats. What are your scores?' She called her assistant Lillian into the room and said, 'Lillian, draft up an AIM letter for me.' Lillian must have asked her how much to put on it, because she said zero dollars.”

This moment was a blessing for Shand because she was now able to access all the services that AIM Educational Services offered, free of cost.

Shand told Career & Education that she did not come from the same socio-economic background as the other students; however, this did not bother her and she was never ostracised.

“I have a single mother and my father wasn't really there. But that wasn't a deterrent from anything. That always pushed me. One thing I think every Jamaican mother kinda tells her child is to work with what you have and that's what I've been doing,” the Campionite shared.

Following her mother's advice, she excelled everywhere she went, especially during her high school years.

“Going to Campion College from a primary school, it was really different. I didn't even know where Campion was before. I just knew that the best went there. I was Miss Campionite. I did netball and basketball. I was National Secondary Students' Council school PRO,” she said.

“Even when I went to AIM I was the only persons that walked. But I had to be there on my eyelash. I had to reach. It was never a case where I allowed my situation to belittle me. I stayed at AIM late and where it is located is on a lonely road. So I'd get a ride to the bus stop and I'd reach home at 11 o'clock and my mother would wait till I came in.“

Shand is determined to continue to succeed because she wants to make a difference.

“I want to be impactful. I want to be somebody that people look up to like Nicole, Terri-Karelle (Reid) — people like those who are more than just women; they're women with a purpose. Those women really make things happen.”

Shand's scholarship covers tuition, rent, miscellaneous expenses and gives her a job placement on campus that will allow her to purchase the amenities she will need while studying at Lafayette.

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