LUCEA, Hanover — Faced with a $1.3-million a year tuition fee, law student Darien Streete is grateful for any financial help he can get, so the recent $30,000 gift from the Hanover Municipal Corporation was welcomed as it was recognition for his hard work.
The third-year law student has completed three years of studies and is about to enter the Norman Manley Law School at The University of the West Indies. He was originally supposed to receive the scholarship in 2020 outstanding performance in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination, but that was yet another facet of life upended by COVID-19.
Streete was among seven outstanding primary and secondary school exit examination performers from Hanover whose excellent work was recognised by the local municipal corporation. They were awarded a total sum of $205,000.
The gesture forms part of an annual initiative to recognise children of the registered poor who have performed well in their CAPE, Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), and Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examinations. Funds for the awards were made possible through the Local Board of Supervision and, by extension, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
In the past, awardees would attend a national awards function. However, after a two-year break as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the initiative resumed at the local level. Bursaries are provided to students who meet stringent criteria.
For PEP students, they must achieve a score of at least 85 per cent. CAPE students must pass at least five subjects, including mathematics or accounts.
Told about the award from 2020, Streete said he was never deterred by the delayed presentation.
“Honestly, I understood the circumstances because the pandemic was so sudden,” he said.
Also among the awardees are Dayna-Lee Martin and Keshanae Tomlinson, who are currently attending Mount Alvernia High School in St James; Cherifa Smith, who is employed at the Noel Holmes Hospital in Hanover; and Chadeisha Kerr, who works at Vistaprint in St James.
The list also includes Selena Williams, a sixth form student at Rusea’s High School in Hanover; and Shantel McFarlane, who is now employed.
“We all know that education is the only vehicle that is going to uplift our people who are less fortunate to a higher level. And so, as a parish, I am honoured to be a part of this because our children, although vulnerable and not able to afford certain things, our municipal corporation and, by extent, the board of supervision is ensuring that they are not left behind, and they have indeed made us proud,” said Deputy Mayor of Lucea Andria Dehaney Grant in handing out the bursaries to the recipients.
For Streete, the funds will take some of the pressure off his family.
“This bursary that I got will be going towards my tuition to lighten the burden that I and my aunt will be facing,” he said while noting that, while not a large amount, the funds would go a long way.
Currently on three scholarships, he said he will be reapplying for others and possibly apply for a student loan to start his first year at Norman Manley Law School.