August 7, 2015
Six chosen for inaugural Island Scholars scholarship

Six Vincentians are one step closer in their pursuit of higher education, after being announced as recipients of the first ever Island Scholars scholarship programme.

The lucky beneficiaries met each other last Saturday, August 1, for an intimate luncheon at Haddon{{more}} Hotel with scholarship board member, Sir Errol Allen.

They are Kimesha Ashby, Kenechia Charles, Ariel Gibson, Oshakie Gittens, Cyritha Harry and Bria King.

According to Allen, when persons first began to apply to the programme, board members expected that they would provide grants of $16,000 to two persons. However, after a large influx of applications, the board decided to expand the number of recipients to six persons, with each receiving EC$8,000.

The programme is one of many scholarship initiatives started by Ronald Rose, a Vincentian originally from New Grounds, residing in the United States. Under his non-profit organization, ‘Island Scholars Inc’, Rose hopes to provide merit and needs-based scholarships to promising students from this country to advance their pursuit of a university education.

“I must say that when I started Island Scholars, I was uncertain of how great was the need for university scholarships in St Vincent and the Grenadines. However, after meeting three applicants and reviewing many applications, I now know that Island Scholars is filling a very important need,” Rose said in a telephone call to the 2015 recipients at last Saturday’s luncheon.

The philanthropist also pledged his support to the recipients and told them that he would always be there to provide encouragement. He opined that the group of six would always be linked as the first recipients of the Island Scholars programme and he urged them to exchange contact information.

Rose also shared some advice to the recipients which he said came from a student who graduated from the University of the West Indies this year.

“I asked a student who is graduating from UWI, St Augustine, in October what advice she would offer. Here is what she said: ‘Don’t take this opportunity for granted; attend classes and ask questions if you don’t understand the material. Cook your own meals; it will save on your expenses; form or join study groups; make new friends; join a club or play a sport; be responsible [and] take charge; it is your future’,” he said.

After the announcement of the successful applicants in July, Rose hosted an essay competition for the recipients, with the prize being a laptop. Scholarship winners were asked to write about an individual who inspired them and how they planned to inspire others in the future.

Former Girls’ High School student Kimesha Ashby was the winner of this competition.

“The competition was fierce. Mr Allen and I were certainly inspired by all the essays. It was a confirmation that the right students were selected for the scholarship awards,” Rose explained.

“Everyone did a great job of telling me who inspired them. However, Kimesha did the best job of explaining how she plans to inspire others.”

Ashby will begin her undergraduate studies, majoring in Mathematics this September at the UWI, Cave Hill campus. Kenechia Charles and the lone male, Oshakie Gittens, will both attend the UWI, St Augustine campus, where they will study Biomedical Technology and Chemistry respectively.

23-year-old Cyritha Harry will major in Marketing at the UWI Open Campus in St Vincent and the Grenadines, while SEARCHLIGHT reporter Bria King will pursue an undergraduate degree in Journalism at UWI, Mona campus. Ariel Gibson, who is currently a medical student at All Saints Medical School in SVG, will travel to the US in January to continue her studies.(BK)