MEMBERS OF the Cornwall College Class of 1985 have increased funding for their annual scholarship programme to needy students of the Montego Bay-based institution to $1.65 million for the current 2021-2022 academic year, growing from $150,000 just over four years ago.
The CC Class of 1985 scholarship fund now also awards special visual art scholarships each year and has embarked on an art programme at the school. The fund was started in 2017 with the award of four scholarships totalling $150,000. Since then, the programme has grown through increased contributions and fundraising activities spearheaded by members of the year-group who reside in Jamaica and overseas.
For the current academic year, a total of 32 scholarships were awarded, with 28 awards being in the amount of $50,000, one award for $80,000 and the three art scholarships worth $30,000 each. The scholarship awards were made during a recent virtual presentation. The scholarship money, which was handed over to principal Michael Ellis, is administered by the school’s guidance-counselling department, with disbursements made to students and their parents or guardians based on the submission of letters of request.
The funds may be used for any school-related purpose, including the purchase of electronic devices to facilitate online learning as well as payment for Internet service, including buying credit and data plans for mobile phones. The scholarship programme involves assigning mentor teachers who monitor the academic performance of scholarship recipients, arrange tutoring in subject areas where the students need assistance, and provide periodic reports to the Class of 1985 scholarship committee.
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The art programme aims to encourage interest in the visual arts among students, sharpening students’ artistic skills and exposing them to new and emerging career options in the arts. This is done in collaboration with the RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation based in Philadelphia, USA, which provides art materials for the initiative, art instruction and mentorship.
The Cornwall College Old Boys’ Association, the mid-Atlantic chapter, also supports the programme. Painting of murals on the creative and industrial arts building at the school by members of the school’s art club, refurbishing of the art room to include painting, repairing of drawing tables and chairs, and the donation of other furniture, computers and a camera, are among the activities the recipients are involved in.
Students from Herbert Morrison Technical High School in Montego Bay, and the Wolmer’s Girls’ and Boys’ schools and Jamaica College in Kingston are also recipients. Outgoing chairman of the Cornwall College Class of 1985 Scholarship Fund, Huntley Medley, who led the programme since inception, is commending members of the year-group residing worldwide who contributed cash and time and led various fundraising initiatives.
He lauded members of the scholarship committee who helped to guide the programme’s growth, including expanding fundraising and, therefore, increasing the number of recipients and the general positive impact of the scholarship programme on the lives of the students. “We could not have done it without the generosity of all those who donated cash, materials and their valuable time, and we are grateful to them.
The school’s administration has been accommodating and supportive, the mentor teachers have been a tower of strength, and the school’s guidance-counselling department, led by Reverend Sydoine Jeannite, has worked assiduously to ensure the success of the scholarship programme,” Medley said. Incoming scholarship fund chairman Mark Ricketts, whose tenure started January 1, said the programme’s growth would continue with the addition of new elements to assist the school and more needy and deserving students.
Ricketts said the new art initiative is a case in point, and discussions are under way to incorporate other elements.