THE University College of the Caribbean (UCC) has granted scholarships worth $1 million to the top three girls in this year's Miss Teen Jamaica contest.
Presentation of the prize scholarships was made at the UCC's New Kingston campus recently by the college's deputy president, Dr Dameon Black, who has had special responsibility for graduate studies at the institution since July 2011.
The scholarships form part of the UCC's outreach programme, started some eight years ago when the institution teamed with Dr Henley Morgan's Agency for Inner City Renewal (AIR) in Trench Town to assist small businesses in Trench Town, and young people involved with gangs.
The UCC's outreach moved on to assist young cricketers engaged by the Melbourne Cricket Club, Courtney Walsh Drive, as well as offering open scholarships to the public accessible from its website.
"Our scholarship programme is a big part of what we do, and we collaborate with a number of persons and institutions to provide aspiring students with support," said Geraldine Adams, chief executive officer (CEO) of the institution.
Three years ago, the UCC offered a scholarship worth $400,000 to winner of the 32-year-old Miss Teen Jamaica contest. Promoter of the annual event, J'Syn Promotions, says that the contest has made a tremendous contribution to the development of teenaged girls from across Jamaica, providing them with a vehicle for economic mobility and social flexibility as well as learning about the public and the private sectors.
The successful collaboration with the organisers of the contest, encouraged the college to increase its sponsorship to $1million this year, including a $500,000 bursary to Miss Teen Jamaica 2013/14, 17-year-old Soyini Phillips, a student of Bishop Gibson High School in Mandeville. Soyini wore the Miss Everton J. Dewar & Company sash in the finals.
She started studying business administration earlier this month, joining last year's winner Janneil Lyn on the campus. However, she says her ambition is to become a lawyer, eventually. She has moved to Kingston from her hometown of Mandeville to attend college.
First runner-up Nayanda Dixon (Miss Azan Supercentre), a 16-year-old student of Excelsior High, received a $300,000 scholarship and third-placed 17-year-old Tamara Richards (Dr Clive Lloyd Medical Centre) of Glenmuir High School got a $200,000 scholarship.
IN 2004, UCC became the second private university in Jamaica, following the acquisition of the Institute of Management and Production(IMP) by the Institute of Management Sciences (IMS), to form the largest private higher education consortium in Jamaica.
The institution later expanded to form partnerships with the Florida International University, the University of Florida and the Florida State University. In 2005, these partnerships led to the creation of a number of training programmes in the fields of business, information technology and engineering.