Careers & Education

Scholarship help, but...

Sunday, August 17, 2014    

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A NON-PROFIT organisation based in Connecticut, USA, has for the past five years been assisting needy Jamaican high school students who are faced with economic hardships.

The organisation, Professional Jamaicans for Jamaica (PJFJ), run by Horace Daley, has given over $49 million over the past five years in scholarships, which is financed by corporate and individual sponsors.

However, fewer scholarships were renewed this year as parents did not co-operate.

Daley, speaking recently at the fifth PJFJ scholarship awards ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, made a call for the nation to go back to the days when a village raised a child.

"For the nation to be rewarded in abundance we have to go from basics. We can't do it through individualism but through collectivism, and hence exercise civic duty to succeed as a nation," Daley said.

"We identify talented students and unearth them from the lower echelons of society and we require parents to provide progress reports so the organisation can see the children's weaknesses and work with them."

He said they have had students who averaged 55 per cent and based on progress reports they are now averaging 85 and up.

But if progress reports are not provided, Daley warned that the scholarships would not be renewed.

"Last year we gave away 51 scholarships; this year it's a little over 20, mainly because parents did not keep their end of the bargain to provide the progress reports. We need to see how these students are performing in school," he said.

Guest speaker at the event Karl Graham, president and CEO of Fullgram Enterprises, told the recipients that the world was not designed to be easy and they had to have a plan to succeed.

"Once you've figured it out, write your plans in your mind in ink. You're not an island, so step out of the box, ask questions and get answers. Tell yourself, 'I can achieve' -- learn to read, write, speak properly, add, subtract and divide because if you miss these, you've lost the elixir to deal with the problem," he said.

Professional Jamaicans for Jamaica has also started a breakfast programme to help students to be comfortable while learning.

"Breakfast is critical, and if students aren't fed they won't learn anything, so we have started that and intend to have one launched in early childhood institutions," Daley said.

Scholarship recipients are expected to devote their time to community service projects which the organisation spearheads.

— Kimberley Hibbert

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