DAVID 'Wagga' Hunt's illustrious legacy as a role model not only in football but as a human being continues to live on five years after his passing in October 2007.
A Kingston College old boy, Hunt was associated with football for a long time and, with almost 30 years' experience, was classified as a veteran local coach.
After his untimely passing, his family and friends came together and decided to start a scholarship initiative aimed at assisting two second form high school students with their educational expenses; one from his alma mater and one from Calabar High School. In an unprecedented move, Hunt coached Calabar, an arch-rival of Kingston College, in an attempt to bridge the unfriendly rivalry between both schools.
Hunt was mainly responsible for reviving football at Calabar where he led them to their first title in 28 years in 2005, after just two years in charge. That year they also won their first Olivier Shield title. He had reached the Manning Cup final in 2004 and lost to the outstanding Leebert Halliman-coached Excelsior.
With the support of corporate sponsors, including Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS), that have been on board since its inception, and other initiatives locally and overseas, each student receives $100,000 each year until they complete sixth form at both institutions. Ten students have now been awarded scholarships from this initiative to date.
Christopher Hunt, co-chairman of the Jamaican Chapter of the David 'Wagga' Hunt Memorial Scholarship Initiative, speaking at this year's scholarship awards ceremony held at the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica Auditorium, said the fund is intended to make a positive contribution to education and welfare of students in need whilst keeping the memory of 'Wagga' alive.
"Each student must display commendable academic performance and attitude, is involved in sports or other co-curricular activities, and is in need of financial assistance. Awardees are reviewed each year and if necessary, appropriate intervention is attempted. Scholarship holders must maintain good behaviour and academic performance to retain their entitlement," Hunt said.
At a budgeted cost of $600,000 per student over the duration of the scholarship, it covers tuition, books, lunch and other related expenses. Tahj Williamson of Calabar High School and Clovis Donegal of Kingston College are this year's recipients. Miguel Morrison of Kingston College, now in sixth form, retained his scholarship and was one of the first recipients of the initiative. This year scholarships were awarded to the tune of $1 million.
'Wagga', according to Christopher Hunt, was not just a coach, he was a father figure to all youngsters who came under his influence. At the time of death Hunt was the general secretary of the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA).
Other sponsors for the scholarship initiative include Supreme Ventures, Guardian Life, Proven Wealth, Sagicor, Salada Foods, and other private individuals in the Caribbean and the United States.
SCHOLARSHIP AWARDEES -- Calabar High School: Grade 7 - Tahj Williamson; Grade 8 - Delroy Matterson; Grade 9 - Chris-Anthony Campbell; Grade 10 - Emanuel Williams; Grade 11 - Kamar Bennett.
Kingston College : Grade 7 - Clovis Donegal; Grade 8 - Hamani Henry; Grade 9 - Ronaldo Ferguson; Grade 10 - Kevon Bartley; Grade 11 - Miguel Morrison.