RUNAWAY BAY, St Ann — St Ann-based Noranda Jamaica Bauxite Partners (NJBP) has opted to celebrate Jamaica's 50th Independence anniversary with a special focus on education through its scholarship programme.
The company announced that it is spending over $20 million on education this year, with over 100 students pursuing studies at the secondary and tertiary level receiving scholarships and bursaries.
Sixty-five students from primary, all-age and preparatory schools in the company's operational areas and who emerged as the top male and female in the recent Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) were last Thursday presented with scholarships valued at $25,000 each.
Addressing an awards ceremony at the Cardiff Hotel and Spa in Runaway Bay, St Ann, Personnel & Industrial Relations Manager at NJBP, Nathan Thompson, explained that the Jamaica 50 scholarship programme includes 50 tertiary-level awards to students entering college for the first time.
"Our Jamaica 50 programme will also include five university scholarships worth $250,000 each, on an annual basis, for first degree levels in various disciplines for two to four years," he added.
He said the company would award five college or tertiary institution scholarships worth $150,000 each on an annual basis for two to four years. Furthermore, Thompson explained that the company has opened its doors to some 80 students for summer employment.
"Noranda believes in giving back to the community and the country as an important part of our social obligations and commitment to Jamaica," he added.
State Minister in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Julian Robinson, who, along with the awardees, had watched the Jamaican athletes' clean sweep of the Olympic 200m men's race in London just moments before the awards presentation, encouraged the youngsters to use the athletes' success as an example of what they can achieve in their own lives.
"I want to encourage you; to be at this ceremony means that you have accomplished excellence, to do well in the GSAT at this stage is excellent," Robinson said. "In striving for excellence you must not just focus on academic excellence. It is important that you do very well in your classes, it is important that you achieve a basic level of academic excellence, but it is also important that you are well-rounded students," he said.
Lamoi Williston and Shonnae Frazer of Servite Primary in Brown's Town emerged from the group of students as the top awardees after both scored an identical 96.3 per cent average in the GSAT. They each received a Dell laptop from NJBP.
Young Williston, who will be attending Westwood High, later told the Jamaica Observer that she was honoured to be awarded with the scholarship and promised that her academic success would continue.