The financial institution, last Saturday marked 18 years since it began providing support to one child from each of the Parishes including Carriacou and Petite Martinique who are entering secondary school for the first time.
The annual scholarship programme which takes the form of a retreat for the children who get the opportunity to be exposed to three Guidance Counselors brought together the new awardees of the programme along with the existing group.
NIS Director, Alfred Logie reminded the recipients of NIS funding that when the programme was reviewed ten years ago it was felt that the returns for the resources being used were not being seen.
Logie said the decision was taken to have the beneficiaries give an indication that they are applying themselves and have the aptitude to excel.
“The results of that change is clear when we analyse the results that we have been receiving over the last three or four years,” he told them.
The NIS Director indicated that two students on the programme, Shian Ollivier and Shadell Peters who are both from Carriacou were listed among the top ten students nationally.
Ollivier received passes in the 11 subjects she wrote with seven distinctions, while Peters also received 11 passes with eight distinctions.
The two top students will be assisted by NIS in attending the T. A. Marryshow Community College.
Logie said they are equally pleased with results coming from students who are in Forms 1 to 4 in the secondary schools.
According to him, 15 of the 31 students in the programme attained in excess of an average of 75 percent for the three terms.
“Don’t ever allow yourself not to grow to your full potential, and that is what the National Insurance Scheme through the scholarship programme is seeking to do,” Logie told the students.
For the school year September 2012 to June 2013, NIS pumped $90,341.00 into the programme.
Social Security Minister Clarice Modeste-Curwen who attended the function urged both the students and their parents not to view the assistance being provided by NIS as something being “free” to them.
Minister Modeste-Curwen indicated that while it appears to be free to the beneficiary, someone else is making the sacrifice to fulfill the needs of that other person.
She said in return for the scholarship grant all NIS is asking is for the students to excel.
The senior Government Minister spoke of being satisfied that each parish benefits from the scholarship programme.
“It was another wise choice to include Carriacou and Petite Martinique and every Parish,” she quipped.
Former school principal Meryl Lord who also addressed the retreat challenged the students to be different which she said is the ingredient to success.
Lord who represented the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development said being different means adhering to the rules and regulations of the school, being respectful and showing love to their parents, friends and themselves.
“One of the most important keys to success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do even when you don’t feel like doing it,” she remarked.
One of the Counselors, Alexandrian Mc Sween encouraged the students to display diligence, pride and belief in the pursuit of a higher education.
Mc Sween described diligence as being a constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken.
“It is a step to accomplishing goals, and without it one cannot succeed. It does not only affect your grade, but the results of your life,” she said.
The Counselor also admonished the students to stay away from the ills of society including drugs, alcohol and sex that can distort their education.
“Students, maintain a high self esteem always, and try to follow your own curiosity,” she told them.
What began as a programme to assist seven students in 1995 has now grown to 31 students. To date $1.4m has been spent on the NIS scholarship programme.
Students are assisted in meeting the cost of their uniform and transportation, and they also receive an undisclosed monthly allowance to cover their daily needs.
In addition, fees to cover their CXC Subjects are also provided to the students by the scheme.
The students are required to maintain an average of 60 percent during their secondary school education to remain as beneficiaries. Those pursuing tertiary education are also funded.
The students are required to attain at least seven CXC passes including English Language and Mathematics with distinctions in at least four subjects including English Language to qualify for further assistance from NIS to attend TAMCC.