Empowering young women through tennis
LOCAL tennis stars, Sicquena Sinclair and Shantal Blackwood, who hail from Calabar Primary School and Windward Road Primary, will now be completing higher learning on full scholarship at universities in the Southern United States — Florida A & M University (a Division One College) and Shorter University in Georgia (Division Two).
These young ladies with the support of the Scholarship Fund (supporting and sponsoring children from financially challenged backgrounds since 2000) have used tennis as a means to pave their way both academically and athletically.
Sinclair and Blackwood have been provided with support from The Scholarship Fund since 2004 and have excelled at tennis as juniors, representing Jamaica as number one and number two; entering and doing well in a slew of tournaments at that level in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.
The young ladies are now paving their way to take their place alongside other current tennis scholarship awardees — Brandon Burke, now studying at Brown University (a member of the Ivy League) and Christopher Lawson, who attends the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. Tennis Jamaica has produced many such worthy students over the years.
Shantal is competing at the Division One Ievel with her scholarship covering tuition, training and participation in the NCAA's coveted competition. She has to live up to the fact that a previous awardee, Tinesta Rowe, made it to the final in 2008.
Similarly, Sicquena won 82 per cent of her scholarship to a Division One College. However, she was not cleared by NCAA at this level, so she will be competing in the Division Two category, which is just as strenuous and every bit as competitive as Division One. Another Jamaican student and scholarship awardee, Damion Johnson, is a previous Division Two tournament winner, so Sicquena has to try and match Damion's achievement.
Through hard work and of course all the effort they have put into their tennis, their higher education is assured with much of their success due to the unwavering support, encouragement and efforts on their behalf from Tennis Jamaica in conjunction with The Scholarship Fund.