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$1.5 million in scholarship for St Mary students

Monday, August 19, 2019

Six St Mary students pursuing tertiary education in the upcoming academic year will benefit from scholarships amounting to $1.5 million from the Sydney A Phillips Scholarship Trust Fund.

The trust fund, which provides scholarships for students raised and educated in St Mary, received an $850,000-donation from Jamaica Producers (JP) Group for the 2019-2020 academic year.

According to Elizabeth Phillips, director of the trust fund, the support of JP has been integral in the development of the Trust, which began in 1994.

“JP has been our major supporter right from the very outset. From before we actually got going, they have been with us trying to determine how do we do this, where do we go with this idea,” stated Phillips.

“Honestly, there have been several promises of a scholarship programme that never materialised and we wanted to ensure that this became a reality; and we could not have done it without Jamaica Producers. They have been our major donor, but more importantly they have been there to offer input, guidance and direction when we have had challenges,” Philips added.

She also noted that the spirit and commitment of students, who pass through the programme, keep the trust fund alive.

“We have been very impressed and amazed by the level of knowledge, maturity, and dedication of these young people in St Mary. It really restores your hope in the future of this country when you see the talent that is there and the intent of purpose that is there,” noted Phillips.

This year's recipients are pursuing studies at The University of the West Indies (UWI), the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), University of Technology, Jamaica (UTECH) and the Mico University College.

The students who will receive $250,000 each towards their tuition for the 2019-2020 academic year are Cedella McKie, a second-year marketing major and Xandrea Roach second-year law student from The UWI. From CMU are third-year marine engineering students Shando Buchanan and Shamona Bailey. Third-year land economy and valuation student from UTECH, Natola Watt has also been awarded, while Shereen LaTouche, third-year science education major from the Mico University College returns for her second year as a recipient.

JP Group Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Hall noted that JP remains committed to the trust fund as they were during its inception 25 years ago.

“Our commitment to the communities in which we do business remains strong. It is for this reason that we continue to support the education of young people, particularly in St Mary — which is the home of JP Farms,” said Hall.

“As we celebrate 90 years in business, we remain keen on playing a role in helping to empower and assist the development of Jamaica's brightest minds,” he added.

Over $13 million has been disbursed in scholarships and grants since the fund was established by the family of the late Sydney A Phillips. Phillips, a former Custos of St Mary, was a prominent attorney and co-founder of the Robinson, Phillips and Whitehorne law firm in St Mary. The fund is now administered by Elizabeth Phillips, daughter of the deceased, and financed, in part, by the Phillips family.

The fund assists students in the parish who display excellent academic performance and community involvement.

“We hope that they (the scholars) will see, and this is something we are trying to develop as a scholarship, that you have one hand for taking and the other for giving. When you are in a position to give, you give back, so that more youngsters can benefit from a programme like this. We are very pleased right now that our past scholars are funding more than one of the scholarships this year,” shared Phillips.

Beneficiaries of the fund must possess good academic record, be a resident of St Mary, and attended school in the parish to at least the Caribbean Examinations Council level and be actively involved in the community and/or school activities. First-year scholarship recipients, who maintain high grades and good behaviour, receive funding up until their final year.