Another eight students have been added to the Sir Royston Hopkin Scholarship Fund which is now into its 21st year, and has brought the number to 49.
The new batch of students along with those who are already on the programme were on presented last week Monday with vouchers that would assist them in being prepared for the new school year that began on September 3.
Six of the scholarship awardees come from the Blessed Sacrament School in Grand Anse, St. George’s, while the other two are given to children of his staff.
Chairman and Managing Director of Spice Island Beach Resort, Sir Royston spoke of being proud to have 49 students on the programme.
The hotelier stressed that the ongoing scholarship programme is offered to the needy to afford them a decent education since he believes that there is room for everybody to succeed once they apply themselves.
He said he has a commitment to the students’ development, promising that once he remains alive he would continue to develop the scholarship programme and enhance it every year.
Sir Royston who recognised that the world is now in a recession, told the awardees that they now have a tremendous opportunity to be able to go to school.
“The message I’m sending to you (is that) you are the custodians of the future of this little country. You are the ones who have to see what’s taking place in the country. You are the ones who have to determine how you are going to contribute, that we have a sustained economy and a sustained growth in this country,” he said.
With tourism being considered as the main revenue-earning sector in the local economy, Sir Royston expressed the hope that the students would consider embarking upon a career in the hospitality industry.
He said the prospective scholarship recipients are brought to the hotel continuously where they are given an opportunity to tour the facilities, and are provided with lunch.
“Part of the scholarship programme is not just giving you a scholarship and letting you go on your way… it’s to get those who, prior to getting a scholarship from the school affording them the opportunity to understand what is the tourism business, what is the hotel business,” he remarked.
The fund was created in 1992 by the hotelier who saw the need for greater access to secondary school by the less fortunate children who are successful at the primary school exit exams.
The Blessed Sacrament was adopted by Sir Royston assisting students through their tertiary education.
Acting Principal, Devon Francique said it is a time of commemorating what is termed as the gateway to first-class honours that was initiated by Sir Royston to the Blessed Sacrament School.
“We are celebrating the fact that someone stood up and took the initiative to give birth to such a successful scholarship programme, one which was missing from our students for many years,” Francique told the students.
According to Coordinator of the Scholarship Programme, Hermian Griffith since its inception, at least five graduates from the Blessed Sacrament School have been awarded a seven-year scholarship from Sir Royston.
In 2004, the scholarship was extended to include children of employees of the resort at a particular financial scale.
Griffith said that at present 18 children of Sir Royston’s staff are beneficiaries of the scholarship programme.
She said with the introduction of the free schoolbooks programme in 2008 by the Tillman Thomas-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government, the resort did not want to duplicate that programme, and opted to present to the Sir Royston Hopkin Scholarship Awardees a credit voucher system to compliment government’s programme.
Griffith said this system affords the awardees the opportunity to purchase the supporting items that are required for attending school like uniform, shoes and stationery.
The Scholarship Programme Coordinator reported that the resort has seen excellent performances coming from the students.
“We have seen mass increases in the number of students attending and completing the secondary school, and an encouraging number completing TAMCC (T.A. Marryshow Community College),” she said.
She stressed that the record shows that at least 39 students who were on the programme have graduated from TAMCC.
Griffith singled out a number of students who have excelled such as Anisha Hall who is enrolled at the St. George’s University to complete her first degree in tourism hospitality, Rexi Phillip, an Anglican High School Graduate who passed nine of the ten CXC Subjects she wrote, and Vivian Lalgie who graduated from TAMCC with an Associate Degree in Building Technology.
For their excellent performances, the resort gave the students extra rewards.
Hall was given an all-inclusive three-night stay at Spice Island Beach Resort, while a two-night stay was extended to Phillip.
Lalgie has an opportunity to enjoy dinner for two at the luxurious Oliver’s Restaurant at Spice Island Beach Resort.
Motivational speaker Edward Frederick who was invited to deliver the key note address told the students that as they embark on their new level of education, they are invited to commit themselves to whatever it is they target as their career, and to dedicate themselves to achieving it.
Frederick who is an Image Management Consultant reminded the scholarship recipients that the only thing they can do in appreciation of what is offered to them is to succeed, and to make discipline a major force in their lives.
He believes the group of students who are being prepared to be the agents of change are privileged to be chosen to gain a hassle-free education.
“If you constantly associate yourselves with right things… you will surely reap the benefits of the great seeds that you would have sown,” he said.
The motivational speaker also admonished the students to break the cycle of poverty, and to break the cycle of greed and selfishness.
Frederick advised the parent that in order for their children to succeed there has to be a family effort.
He encouraged the parents to take an interest in their children by developing a strong relationship with their teachers so as to keep abreast with their progress in school.
“This is one way to make the scholarship that they receive today count,” he said.
Frederick also used the occasion to warn the students against wasting time on the social media network.
He said that too many children are seen spending a lot of valuable time with the social media.
Admitting that there is enough time for being engaged with the social media, he said the students must learn to prioritise, adding that, “all their time is spent on stupidness”.
“FaceBook, BBM and MSN, they don’t give degrees… So appreciate the limited time at hand and make it count. There is enough time for those social engagements,” he added.
Frederick told the students if at an early age and stage they learn to focus on what is priority for them which, he said, is education, they would surely find time for social media.
He said all they have to do is to make discipline a major force in their life.
The motivational speaker is confident that as the students move forward with their education they would appreciate the need to pay close attention during school hours so that they would not have to work as hard at home to review their work in the absence of the teachers.