'Strive for a higher version of yourself'
Tishauna Mullings (left), development practitioner, social innovator and entrepreneur, interacts with Demorah Robinson, JN scholar, during the ceremony.

NEARLY 50 JN scholars were inspired by Chevening scholar and life coach Tishauna Mullings to reach for the highest peak in their educational endeavours. She encouraged them to do so while underscoring the potential of each student.

Mullings was the guest speaker at the JN Foundation PEP scholarship awards ceremony, where she addressed the JN scholars under the theme 'Pursuing Excellence, Honouring Purpose'. The event was held at The Summit on November 12, in recognition of Youth Month.

"Excellence is pursuing the highest standard. Always strive for a higher version of yourself. There is that seed of greatness inside every person," said Mullings, who is also a development practitioner and entrepreneur who operates NexxStepp Personal Development Services and Inspirational Products.

"You are living in an age where you have a lot of resources. Continuously seek personal growth. There are people who are willing to mentor you and guide you," she advised.

Thirty-seven recipients who performed outstandingly in the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams were awarded five-year scholarships by the JN Foundation, the philanthropic arm of The Jamaica National Group. Of the awardees, one is from each parish and county while 20 are children of employees of The Jamaica National Group. An additional 10 students were offered grants by JN Money, a member company of The Jamaica National Group. The occasion marked the 40th year of the scholarship awards.

Referencing her own academic journey, Mullings encouraged the young JN scholars to not only strive for academic excellence but to also embrace a deeper sense of purpose to propel themselves forward.

Using 'eagle' and 'purpose' to form acrostics, Mullings crafted an inspirational narrative, weaving in the wisdom of pursuing excellence, possessing ambition, embracing growth, accepting leadership opportunities, and being empowered into the acrostic 'eagle.' She further spurred the scholars to be passionate about what they undertake, embrace their uniqueness, to be resilient, prioritise goals that align with their purpose, be optimistic, be of service and empowered.

"Think about where you want to be ultimately and how what you are doing now will contribute that. Maintain a positive outlook and be of service. Make sure you give back and serve others around you. See how you can help with something. Make sure you are well rounded. Set goals that align with your purpose," she said.

Mullings received the Prime Minister's Youth Award for Jamaica 55 for commendable work in youth service in 2017 and the Governor General's Award for Excellence in 2015. She was also a young achiever recipient of the Gordon 'Butch' Stewart Community Award in 2014, and in 2016 served as a delegate for Barak Obama's Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative. She is also an alum of the JN Foundation's Social Enterprise Boost Initiative (SEBI) where she received support in 2018 to develop her enterprise, NexxStepp Personal Development Services and Inspirational Products.

Since the inception of the JN Scholarship Programme in 1983, hundreds of students have benefited from financial assistance to pursue their secondary education. This year, 370 scholarship applications were received.

As part of the eligibility for the scholarship, the child or parent is required to be a member, customer, or client of The Jamaica National Group for at least a year, while JN Group employees, whose children achieved a placement score of 288 or more, were invited to apply for the scholarship.

This year's scholarship awardees are in addition to approximately 130 JN scholars who are at various stages in their five-year secondary scholarship award, and who have had their scholarship renewed for the new school year.

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