ELITE Jamaican sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce yesterday implored seven recipients of scholarship grants awarded by her Pocket Rocket Foundation to strike the correct balance between sports and academics as they strive to become world beaters.
Fraser-Pryce donated more than $700,000 to seven high school students as part of her effort to give back to aspiring youth in her country.
Speaking at the award function, held at Devon House in Kingston yesterday, Fraser-Pryce warned the awardees that her foundation would be keeping tabs on their academic and sporting progress.
"Keeping up to date on school is very important because, as you know, balancing both, it's very good to know that you can do two things at one time and accomplish both of them at the same time. So I want you to have that balance. I want you to make sacrifices," Fraser-Pryce said.
The seven recipients — Rojaire Bingham of Mona High; Brenton Bartley of Campion College; Tahjia Lumley of Papine High; Jovaine Atkinson of Kingston College; Carlton Collins of Munro College; Shavar Scott of Ardenne High and the only girl Kimone Shaw of St Jago — all received in excess of $100,000 to offset tuition, lunch money and other incidental costs related to their attendance at school.
All were required to sign contracts along with their parents, and cash disbursements will be made directly to the schools and not to the awardees or their parents.
Fraser-Pryce has shot to prominence for her prowess on the track but the awardees all take part in different sporting disciplines.
She also encouraged the parents of the awardees to be supportive, pointing to the support she got from her own mother during her formative years.
"If you are a supportive parent, [you are] somebody who is behind your child no matter what, no matter how difficult times get; we have to make sacrifices. We have to know that they come first. When I was graduating from U-Tech (the University of Technology) and I saw my mother sitting in the front row I was so pleased ... to know how excited and happy she was to know that I could achieve the things that she could not have achieved," she said.
The Pocket Rocket Foundation is supported mainly by Fraser-Pryce's corporate sponsors, Grace Foods, Sagicor and Nike.