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Eight Jamaican students awarded scholarships

Tuesday, October 09, 2012 | 1:01 PM    

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EIGHT students of Jamaican heritage attending colleges in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia have been awarded scholarships through the Washington DC-based Jamaica Nationals Association (JNA).

This year’s grant recipients are Nirica Clarke, Kimberley Curtis and Shanique Fletcher of Howard University; Tressan Gordon of Virginia State University; Camille Clennon Hilmy of Prince George’s Community College; Raquel Lowe of Mary Baldwin College; Lloyd Thompson Taylor of Hood College; and Sharon Vernon of Strayer University.

Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States Stephen Vasciannie delivered the keynote address at JNA’s annual student reception and book scholarship awards at the Silver Spring Civic Centre last Saturday. He commended JNA for creating the scholarship awards, named for Professor Gordon Shirley, the former Jamaican Ambassador to the United States (2004-2007), who is currently the principal of the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. 

 “This is an outstanding tribute to Professor Shirley’s advocacy, commitment, contribution to the Diaspora and support for students of Jamaican heritage in their quest to further their education,” said Vasciannie.

He described education as vital because of its instrumental value in how it links one to the rest of society.  

“It is of great value — education is certainly the key,” he argued.  

In his remarks, JNA education committee chairman Dr Agorom Dike said the education committee knows of the challenges faced by many international students from Jamaica, related to F1 visa issues.  He noted that these visas do not allow students to access federal grants and student loans or obtain work permits.  As a result, JNA decided to award the greater part of the grant to students from Jamaica based on high academic excellence, outstanding community service and financial need.

“This year, JNA decided to award eight grants instead of four,” he said.

He said the programme is meant to bridge the gap for the many Jamaican students who are financially challenged.

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