Sagicor Jamaica – Standing at four feet and six inches in height, both Aiden Smith and Matthew Whyte will be starting new chapters of their lives at Campion College on Monday.
The duo, who have twin-like qualities but are completely unrelated, were among 114 students Sagicor Foundation awarded with scholarships on Monday at Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
The two boys were the shortest of the lot being awarded and little in body structure, which the audience was surprised that children of their “grade four looking stature” had excelled, and would be going off to one of Jamaica’s most prestigious and highly rated secondary level institutions.
Whyte, who is 10 years of age – a year younger than the age of the average Primary Exit Profile (PEP) examination’s candidate – was “excited and happy” to have passed his exams last academic year and was awarded his first choice of school.
“It [preparing for PEP] was hard and I’ve never prepared for anything like that in my life,” he told The Gleaner.
Likewise Smith, 11-years of age, told The Gleaner said it was very hard preparing for PEP with his alma mater St Andrew Preparatory School.
“It just came in all at once. I never expected it to be that hard,” he said.
Smith added that online classes never made it much easier for him either, as he was easily distracted by his phone and television when not in the physical classroom space. “But I tried my best to stay focused,” he said.
- Barita Foundation to reward outstanding youth scholars with scholarships
- The 2023 NCB Foundation Scholarship is accepting applications for scholarships, grants
- GOJ’s Continuing Strategies to Increase Tertiary Education Financing Access Through Grant In Aids
- Apply for the Mico STEM Scholarships (Mico University College) Programme
Smith, who wants to become a coder or video game developer in the future, is looking forward to the clubs and society offerings he heard Campion College has to offer, especially their chess club.
Whyte, who attended the Porter Centre for Knowledge, hopes to become a scientist in the future. Matthew’s father, Herbert Whyte, told The Gleaner that he is happy his son was awarded a scholarship and was heading to Campion College.
“Even though he had Wolmer’s High as his second choice, he really only had one school in mind, and that was Campion College, so I don’t know how we would manage if he hadn’t gotten through. He is really excited about going to Campion College,” the senior Whyte said.
On Monday, Sagicor Foundation disbursed approximately $13 million in new scholarships and grants to the 114 students at the tertiary and secondary level.
The Sagicor Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the financial conglomerate, Sagicor Group Jamaica, returned with its face-to-face awards ceremony this year, after a two-year hiatus.
The tertiary recipients, who are clients, children of Sagicor clients and team members’ children, were chosen after a competitive application process. Over 800 students applied for the scholarships. The shortlisted applicants who made it to the interview process were assessed based on academic performance, community involvement and volunteerism, strong leadership potential and financial need.
Thirty students were selected at the end of the process and awarded scholarships valued at up to $300,000 for a maximum of four years for their first-degree programmes. In addition to the scholarships, 60 students were selected for grant awards valued at $60,000. These grants were a special initiative in honour of Jamaica’s 60th anniversary of Independence.
The Sagicor Foundation scholarships are applicable for enrolment at any of seven Jamaican universities – The University of the West Indies, University of Technology, Jamaica, Northern Caribbean University, The Mico University College, Caribbean Maritime University, University of the Commonwealth Caribbean and Edna Manley School of the Visual and Performing Arts.
Christopher Zacca, president and CEO of Sagicor Group Jamaica, during his welcome remarks at the tertiary awards ceremony, urged the awardees to stay focused while being involved in university life.
“It is now time to stay on top of your game and remain committed to producing quality and excellent work. In addition to your academics, become involved in your faculty’s programmes and initiatives, volunteer, join a social club, help your fellow students, and form long-lasting connections. It all contributes to the memories, bonds and experience you will leave university with,” he said.
Alysia White, Sagicor Foundation executive director, also shared words of encouragement for the young scholars.
“Over the many years, it has been such a joy to witness our secondary scholars evolve throughout their academic journey and excel in their varying areas of study. I know you too will continue to blaze a trail of excellence as you take on this new and exciting phase of your life. And the Sagicor Foundation remains committed to sharing with you on this new path,” White said.
The Sagicor Foundation will be investing an additional $23.1 million in scholarship renewals for both its tertiary and secondary scholarship cohorts.
The secondary awards ceremony saw 21 PEP students who will be entering high school presented with scholarships valued at $50,000 annually for a maximum of five years.
The recipients, who are also children of Sagicor clients and team members, were selected based on their PEP ranking.