As the doors to the Frangipani boardroom at the Courtyard Marriott opened, the room quickly filled with excitement and laughter as host Emprezz Golding incited chants of exhilaration and roaring applause. But the room was not just filled with laughter and excitement. It was filled with ambitious scholars who eagerly awaited their reward. Their reward for hard work, community involvement and recognition of their indomitable fight to access higher education.
This was the scene recently at the N.C.B. Foundation 10th annual Scholarship and Grants Awards Cocktail. The flagship initiative of the organisation donates scholarships and grants to more than 300 students from primary to tertiary level each year.
As students eagerly awaited their awards, the event kicked off with an address by Ministry of Education representative Richard Troupe. He congratulated the scholars for their hard work and saluted the Foundation for its efforts to provide avenues for students to gain tertiary level training.
Following was N.C.B. Foundation CEO, Nadeen Matthews who gave an overview of the programme, before encouraging the scholars to be great. She also expressed gratitude for the opportunity to make a difference in their lives, no matter their field of study.
In line with this, Matthews along with N.C.B. Foundation Director, Melissa Hendrickson presented the 2017 Innovative, Creative, Outstanding and Nationalistic (ICON) Scholarship, to nine students pursuing non-traditional fields of study. The winners were: Chelsea Foster, Boclair Smith, E-Jon Thomas, Zavier Cheverria, Doniel Bowen, Joelle Notice, Ronaldo Ferguson, Lola Jackson, and Martina Williams. Last year the Foundation established a special scholarship category to accommodate areas representing a paradigm shift in the Jamaican workplace. These non-traditional courses include Animation, Engineering, Fashion Designing and Computer Science, among others.
The presentation of Parish Champion 2017 followed with a video presentation capturing the individual journeys and reactions of the 14 awardees, each representing a parish. “Thank you, NCB, for giving children like me, a chance to fight for the right to receive their education,” one awardee said.
Parents and well-wishers overflowed with tears, excitement and gratitude as they congratulated their children on their success. Damanelle Taylor, Janique Henry, Monique Thompson, Gaerielle Malcolm, Odane Brooks, Jordan Porter, Shaquel Tinglin, Shadae Hutchinson, Lisa Morrison, Shaneque Edwards, Marisha Williams, Randy Greaves, Patrice Smith, and Ayanna Suckoo, each received $300,000 toward tertiary education for the duration of his/her studies.
Using an acronym for leadership, Michael Lee-Chin, Chairman NCB Financial Group, encouraged the youth not to shrink back out of fear but to: leave a Legacy, have Enduring values, Aspire, be Disciplined, have Emotional control, be Role-models, be Solutions-oriented, be Honest, cultivate Integrity and ultimately to have Perseverance, Persistence and Passion.
“Make sure you are passionate about everything you do and have fun!” Lee-Chin said before announcing the 2017 National Champions – Marisha Williams and Lisa Morrison. Each received $500,000 towards pursuit of a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree at the University of the West Indies (UWI) for the tenure of the programme.
This year NCB spent more than $40 million for scholarships and grants, a $15 million increase from the $25 million two donated in 2015. But the Foundation does not accomplish this alone. Matthews explained that the investment stems from NCB’s financial progress. “The amount of money the Foundation receives to be used as donations comes from a percentage of the bank’s profit and a percentage of Keycard sales. That is why it’s important for us to do well so that we can do good for others,” Matthews said.
The NCB Scholarship and Grants Programme offers subsidies for tuition fees, educational supplies and accommodation for students at all levels of education. The programme is the N.C.B. Foundation’s primary method for delivering on its strategic objectives to increase opportunities for youth to obtain tertiary education and assist youth in active citizenship and gainful employment.