For the first time since the novel coronavirus pandemic struck, committee members of the David "Wagga" Hunt Scholarship Foundation were able to fete and make face-to-face presentations to the scholarship recipients from both Kingston College (KC) and Calabar High School, who benefit from the programme.
Last Sunday, the 24 boys, 12 from KC and 12 from Calabar, ranging from grade 13- grade 8, were the recipients of scholarships of $100,000 each. Four new students, two from each school, were added to the programme, as four others graduated from high school at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year.
The scholarships are granted to students from both schools who do well academically and also in extracurricular activities.
In addition to receiving the money, the four new students also received laptop computers to assist with their schoolwork. Other recipients at the different grade levels also received various gift items from some of the sponsors of the scholarship programme.
For Christopher Hunt, brother of David Hunt and co-chairman of the foundation, a return to the face-to-face presentations after two years of virtual presentations brought tremendous joy.
"I am just excited that after two years of COVID that we are able to get here and have that face-to-face presentation and I am hoping it will continue to make a difference as we move forward with the programme that we have," Hunt said.
He also disclosed that the foundation has made a total contribution of nearly $20 million since they began assisting boys from the two schools.
"This year I am proud to say that we have 24 students. We are going to disburse $2.4 million. Since inception in 2009 we have been growing from strength to strength. We have disbursed nearly $20 million. I am grateful that we have made an impact on these students because we invest in our youth of today [because] they are our future leaders, so I am very excited."
He is also happy about the impact that the scholarships have made on the life of the boys.
"The majority of the students who have left, have gone on to tertiary institutions and they are flying our banner by making sure that they can be the best individuals that they can be, so I am pleased. The two initial recipients — Jehvaun Faulder of Calabar is doing actuarial sciences now and Miguel Morrison of Kingston College has just finished studying at a university in Canada. We are ecstatic that the foundation is a part of their progress."
Rohan Tapper of Calabar High has been a recipient for the last three years and he spoke of the impact that the scholarship has had on him while at school.
"This is a tremendous scholarship which helps in the moulding of young men. I have been on this scholarship for about three years. It has helped my parents financially with school fees and lunch money."
Blaine Byam, who is the captain of the KC Manning Cup team and a member of the track and field team, has been a beneficiary since grade 8.
"It was amazing coming through Kingston College and the Wagga Hunt Foundation has helped me financially and also mentally to come to school. It is an absolutely fantastic initiative and I hope many people continue to benefit from it."
Byam intends to give back to the foundation when he is in a position to do so.
"It is very important because it is a good thing to give back, especially to the high school level because at that level a lot of stars can come through," he said.
Albert Corcho, principal of Calabar High, was pleased that boys were being rewarded for their hard work in school.
"It is heartwarming that once again, the Wagga Hunt committee has come onboard. I think the young men who have been awarded scholarships will indeed do the schools and themselves very proud. We are happy that they have done well and that they can be rewarded at the end of the day," he said.
Marguerite Hall, vice-principal at KC, was grateful for the impact that the scholarships have made over the years.
"I want to express our appreciation that the David 'Wagga' Hunt Scholarship Foundation has been doing. Contributing scholarships, year after to year to so many students. This is an investment in the lives of the Jamaicans and in the lives of so many families."
David Hunt is a Kingston College old boy who coached Calabar High School to success in the Manning Cup and Olivier Shield.
— Dwayne Richards