MONTEGO BAY, St James — Being a good student and an outstanding athlete is not mutually exclusive says Michael Ellis, principal of Cornwall College as he addressed a recent hand-over ceremony for the Christie Family Foundation scholarships awarded to three members of the school’s daCosta Cup football team at the school’s chapel.
“Sports and academics will work and must work,” Ellis said, “as part of the way forward for Cornwall College — sports and academics must work.”
The three boys Deshaun Talbert, Dontae Escoffery, and James Welds were chosen as recipients for scholarships from the Christie Family Foundation, through the Cornwall College Old Boys Association-New York (CCOBA-NY) chapter, based on their academic achievements.
A total of US$10,000 have been made available by three sons of the Christie family, Anthony, Norman, and Glen, who all attended Cornwall College. The donation was made in honour of their parents.
The bursary will be disbursed to three boys over a five-year period, two boys who will remain at the Montego Bay institution and a third will further his education at the tertiary level.
Ellis, despite not having attended Cornwall College himself, said he “still had some fond memories of Cornwall College and of the Christies, who, in addition to being good sportsmen, were also brilliant young men. So it can be done, so it must work, and I could name so many others who were active sportsmen and also did well in their academics. So we have precedence and it must work.
”He thanked the Christie Family Foundation and CCOBA-NY “for giving these promising young men a lifeline that is so important for academic survival”.
Barrington Harvey, president of CCOBA-NY, told the Jamaica Observer West that the idea came about in 2019 when their Vice-President Aubrey Campbell approached Norman Christie, who, at the time, ran the London offices of British Petroleum (BP) as they wanted to do “something special for the 60th anniversary of the chapter”.
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Harvey said, “We thought it would have been good to get some additional scholarships, along with the ones that we usually have, and we reached out to Norman and he agreed with personal funds and some from BP,” and said they wanted to start earlier, but were held up by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We wanted to do the scholarships from 2020, but we were prevented by COVID, and 2021 was no different, and so, even though we are in the second half of the school year, we decided to still go forward,” he told the Observer West,” explaining that the two boys who will stay in school would each receive US$500, while the one leaving would get US$1000.“It is not necessary that the same boys will get the scholarships next year,” he pointed out, “it could be moved around to others.”
Nadian Kerr, the mother of Talbert and who is from Granville, St James, told the Observer West she welcomed the assistance for her son, “I feel good and very proud of him, he is a good boy,” she said. “This scholarship takes some of the stress off me and allows him to focus on his work.”
Escoffery, who is also a part of the school’s track and field team and who captained the Under-14 team that won the all-island title in 2019, said, “This means a lot. My mother is a single parent and I always wanted to help my family in the future and to improve my competence in both football and track and field.”
Escoffery, who is from Westmoreland told the Observer West, “When I was in prep school I always wanted a scholarship to help me in high school, and so this is very good for me and my family.”
— Paul A Reid
Source: Christie Foundation donates three scholarships to Cornwall boys in The Jamaica Observer