Press Release:- The National Community Foundation (NCF) last week Thursday presented 30 full scholarships and 6 bursaries to students across the island as part of its education scholarship programme for the 2021/2022 academic year.
The presentation ceremony was held at the CSA Centre in Sans Soucis, Castries. Due to COVID-19, all the necessary measures were taken to ensure that all relevant protocols were observed.
The scholarships were awarded to students who sat the 2021 Common Entrance Exams in June and cover registration and facility fees, school uniforms, shoes, books, and meal and travel allowance. The bursaries cover school uniforms, shoes and books.
This year, the NCF received nearly 70 applications.
Applications for NCF scholarships and bursaries are reviewed by a select group of experienced educators and NCF Board Members. During the review process, selectors try to ensure that every primary school across the island that submitted applications are considered.
NCF’s Executive Director, Michelle Phillips, said her organization remains committed to working with students and their parents should they experience any socio-economic situations that require the NCF’s intervention.
“The NCF looks forward to working with this new group of students,” Phillips said. “They’re coming into the system at a time of uncertainty brought on by COVID-19. The introduction of the multi-level education system has transformed the traditional classroom as education officials try to ensure that students are not affected academically.”
Phillips noted that the National Insurance Corporation (NIC) is the principal contributor to the NCF’s education portfolio, allocating $300,000 annually, which is why contributing to the NIC is important.
Shervon Alfred, Public Relations Officer of the NIC, praised the NCF for its tireless efforts that target the nation’s youth, adding that the NIC is pleased to be a partner on the initiative.
“The NIC is enormously proud of the NCF and the amazing work they have been doing, including their support for education, through initiatives such as the annual scholarship programme,” he said.
Alfred added: “Today, the NCF provides scholarship opportunities to some 150 scholarships to deserving young Saint Lucians who, while academically gifted, would otherwise face challenges in acquiring the resources to allow them to fully concentrate on their education.”
Meanwhile, Chairperson of NCF’s Board of Directors, Anya Edwin, delivered a motivational message to the students last Thursday, urging them to take advantage of the scholarships they received.
Edwin said students who come from underprivileged backgrounds often face challenges associated with poor parenting, which often affect parents’ ability to motivate their children. Recognizing that some of the students who received scholarships this year come from such backgrounds, she said she felt the need to encourage them to remain determined to succeed.
“Most of the time, we only seem to hear about the negatives associated with young people,” she said.
“Not often do young people get people to motivate us. As a youth leader, I always think it necessary to encourage our young people to do better, strive for excellence, and to know and understand how important they are.”
Edwin added that education goes way beyond the walls of schools, due in part to a very fast-changing workforce.
“It’s no longer about being a doctor and lawyer because there is a growing demand for the non-traditional skills sets,” Edwin stated. “Young people also need to know that they should not be forced to pursue the careers that their parents prefer but, rather, what they want.”
The NCF was established in August 2002, and is a philanthropic, non-profit organization that grants funds to deserving citizens in the following areas: education scholarships, healthcare, youth at risk, older persons, persons with disabilities, the homeless, and the Chess in Schools Programme.
The non-profit organization supports approximately 150 students on secondary school scholarships annually.
The students attend schools throughout the island, 40 of whom sat the CSEC exams in 2020. In July 2020, an additional 21 full scholarships and 6 bursaries were granted to students.
The organization also assisted many other students with school books, shoes and uniforms.
PHOTO CAPTION: NCF Executive Director, Michelle Phillips, at far right, presenting a scholarship package to one of the students last week Thursday.