SMC Schol­ar­ship Fund

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - - El­iza Fran­cis

If you think ed­u­ca­tion is ex­pen­sive then you should try ig­no­rance, goes the say­ing, but this adage is no com­fort to Saint Lu­cian par­ents who must find, ev­ery year, hun­dreds of hard-to-come-by dol­lars for uni­forms, books, school fees and, of course, ex­ter­nal ex­ams for their charges.

And while gov­ern­ment at­tempts to as­sist with stipends and bur­saries, it can only meet the needs of a few. It is left to par­ents to see how they can en­sure their chil­dren have the tools they need to give them the best chance at se­cur­ing a use­ful ed­u­ca­tion.

En­ter lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­sti­tu­tions that have seen the need to lend a help­ing hand. One group of young men from the St Mary's Col­lege is pre­pared to play a role in en­sur­ing that as many young men in par­tic­u­lar are given a chance at suc­cess. The group is giv­ing back to their alma mater and to stu­dents who have what they de­scribe as the drive and abil­ity to ex­cel.

The 1992 SMC Alumni, un­der the leadership of Ja­son Mathurin, to­gether with the Na­tional Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion (NCF) set up the Sa­mar­ian Schol­ar­ship Fund to pro­vide fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance via the Michael Mon­de­sir Schol­ar­ship. Also push­ing the ef­fort are Greg An­der­son, Deale Lee, Les­lie Serieux, Ken­dell Gill and Gabriel Pierre. Last year par­tial schol­ar­ships were dis­bursed to three re­cip­i­ents of the St Mary's Col­lege. The fund will serve pri­mar­ily SMC stu­dents dur­ing the first two years and then ex­tend to other sec­ondary schools on the is­land.

The stu­dents are se­lected by the Sa­mar­ian Schol­ar­ship Fund Se­lec­tion Com­mit­tee, com­pris­ing the six found­ing alumni mem­bers and Elina DuBoulay rep­re­sent­ing the Mon­de­sir fam­ily. Ap­pli­cants who wish to be con­sid­ered must fill out forms avail­able from the NCF and pro­vide re­quired in­for­ma­tion that will be used to as­sess their el­i­gi­bil­ity which is based on needs as well as per­for­mance. Stu­dents who re­ceive schol­ar­ships must reap­ply ev­ery new school year. This en­sures that schol­ar­ship re­cip­i­ents do not rest on their lau­rels. The stu­dents are also re­quired to join a vol­un­teer group or pro­vide some form of com­mu­nity ser­vice.

Last Fri­day alumni mem­bers closely as­so­ci­ated with the Fund met with the spon­sored stu­dents dur­ing a lunchtime sit-down at the school. Mathurin said the ac­tiv­ity was one of many ways they wish to in­ter­act and keep con­nected with the awardees as they at­tempt to make a dif­fer­ence in the lives of these young men.

Mem­bers of the pub­lic can sup­port the ini­tia­tive by do­nat­ing to the Na­tional Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion-Sa­mar­ian Schol­ar­ship Fund ac­count #660003377 at Bank of St Lu­cia. The Fund will be fi­nanced through do­na­tions and other fund-rais­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. Alumni mem­bers say any as­sis­tance that can be given through do­na­tions and other sup­port will be greatly ap­pre­ci­ated.

The new schol­ar­ship fund will serve pri­mar­ily SMC stu­dents dur­ing the first two years and then ex­tend to other sec­ondary schools on the is­land.

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