THREE Jamaican students were awarded scholarships by Canadian organisation Future Achievers International for high academic achievement and involvement in community activities.
The scholarships, each valued at CD$2,000, were handed over at the 5th Biennial Jamaica Diaspora Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre recently.
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites encouraged the students — Whitney Wallace of The Hampton School; Najay Gayle, who will be attending Mannings High; and Kwayne Bennett of Negril All-Age — to continue excelling academically and contribute to their communities. He thanked Future Achievers International and the Diaspora for their contribution to education.
"It shows the best of intentions of members of the Diaspora to uplift education in Jamaica one student at a time, sometimes one school at a time, and this represents the best of all that we have been trying to say at the Diaspora conference," he said.
Meanwhile, Sheila Sealy-Monteith, Jamaica's high commissioner to Canada, said the scholarship awards was another example of tangible support from the Diaspora to the education system in Jamaica.
"This is a wonderful incentive for them to continue to perform well, to continue to perform at a high academic level, to contribute to their community, and just to become better citizens," she said.
She said the award provides support for students from primary school through to the tertiary level.
Najay Gayle, who expressed thanks on behalf of the awardees, said he hopes to motivate other students to strive for success.
"Hard work always pays off, and you will succeed if you try," Gayle said.
Future Achievers International, which has branches in Kenya, Jamaica and Canada, provides support for young role models who exemplify academic excellence and community involvement to inspire both their elders and peers. It was founded by Jamaican Canada-based Professor Cynthia Bled and her husband Yves who continue to fund the organisation. The group is seeking private, corporate and institutional support to expand its youth outreach.