PALAS defies the hardship of the pandemic to award 115 scholarshipsSunday, September 05, 2021
PEACE and Love Academic Scholarship (PALAS), now in its 11th year, had its virtual awards ceremony on Saturday, August 28, which saw 115 scholarships being given out at a value of $13.2 million.
The awards, which were postponed last year due to COVID-19, was a big relief to recipients who were also hit hard by the adversities brought on by the pandemic.
Founder Ruel 'Rula' Brown shared that in spite of the many challenges, he could not put it off another year.
“At times we wondered if we could have given that amount of scholarships, but our supporters stepped up the challenge and here we are,” he said.
Brown also highlighted a 14-year-old recipient who lost her father in the Jarrett Lane shooting incident a few weeks ago.
“This young man was a hard-working father and not involved in violence,” he said as he gave Kiwana Westcott a special shout out.
Chairman of PALAS Patrick Campbell, in his address to the virtual attendees, encouraged them to strive to “always be the earliest riser and the greatest worker and not to be limited by their past or influenced by friends as they seek to follow their dreams.
“Follow them all the way to the stars…by being scholarship recipients you have already proven you have what it takes. Always remember to pay it forward, take that into your heart and be a generous giver to others too,” were his encouraging words.
Kamreece Thompson of Immaculate Conception High and Kyra Simpson, a medical student at The University of the West Indies, were this year's Gold Star awardees for high school and university, respectively, as they topped their field with the highest grades. They both received laptops and a higher purse.
Thompson, commenting on having the highest grades from the over 400 applicants, said it meant more to her than the financial gain.
She felt she was not doing as well as her peers, and shared that she had a lot of doubts surrounding her academic performance and thought of herself as 'average'.
“I slowly felt the gap as my passion for academics was dying. The final straw was the pandemic when I couldn't adjust to online learning,” she shared, stating that support from family and friends saw her through.
She expressed surprise at being chosen as the top applicant, as she said when she applied she was praying just to make the cut as one of the recipients.
Simpson, a second-year medical student who hails from St James, and who grew up in a single-parent household under challenging circumstances, in commenting on topping the university category, encouraged recipients to use faith to overcome fear and work at their dreams.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login