MICO students fund bursary
ON the morning of November 1, 2016, soon-to-be graduate of The Mico University College, Anna-Kaye Bromfield stood outside the Eli Matalon Gymnasium on the college’s Marescaux Road campus. Lecturer Stephen Meghoo, one of the panellists who interviewed her for a second scholarship award at the school, walked up enquiring, “Anna-kaye, what are you still doing at Mico? Are you still a student?”
Bromfield replied, “No, I’m not a student, today I’m a donor.” The 23-year-old, in conjunction with her classmate and best friend Damion Harrison, both outgoing Mico students, offered a bursary and would award it to one of their colleagues at the college’s annual scholarship event that morning, making good on their promise to give back.
“He was really taken aback because one of the questions he asked me in the interview was ‘Why should I select you?’ and I told him ‘It’s a worthy investment. You won’t regret it and I will give back’,” Bromfield recalled.
Meghoo would further quiz Bromfield on how she could afford to be doing this, having not yet officially graduated from the school and being unemployed. The student replied:
“Well, I have enough to share.”
The Bromfield/Harrison Bursary awards $30,000 and a laptop computer to the successful second- or third-year student of the guidance and counselling department. The inaugural recipient is fourth year student Petagaye Graham.
Bromfield and Harrison said that although they are barely through Mico’s gates, they couldn’t leave without being “active change agents”.
“Even though I have other expenses, I had to do this. It was like a rite of passage. If I didn’t do it, it would’ve taken away from my philosophy of leaving a space better than the way I found it,” Bromfield told the Jamaica Observer.
The students explained that coming from humble beginnings, they understand what it is like to lack and receive assistance, being the only two guidance and counselling students to receive financial aid in their cohort. They pooled monies that they made working overseas on the work and travel programme to fund the award.
“When I started university, I had to take a student loan. Even though I had a loan, I had to go without a laptop. I spent lots of time at the library. It was hard,” said Bromfield, who indicated that she didn’t have a laptop until her third year in college.
“The $30,000 represents a $30,000-book grant that I was afforded on my very first year at Mico. The $30,000 was exactly what I needed to sit my exams,” Bromfield said of the bursary award.
She also said they chose to offer the scholarship because there were not many scholarship opportunities for guidance and counselling students.
“And so we understand the story behind maintaining a high GPA and applying for a scholarship, and also sometimes not qualifying for a scholarship because you can’t afford to, based on the fact that you don’t have certain necessities, certain resources. Not having a laptop paralyses you in a sense,” she said, noting that at the time when they offered the bursary she had just paid the rest of her own fees.
They encouraged anyone who can to help make a student’s life better.
“It’s important for any person to make better an opportunity for someone who is less fortunate because someone helped you. It’s a way of life. It’s a proud philosophy. If you can help to make a space better than the way you found it, and if you can impact others, you are helping yourself, particularly as it relates to education. It’s a worthwhile investment to make if you want a better Jamaica: to help those that would make worthwhile contributions but just can’t because they can’t afford to. It’s not fair to not be able to finish school because you can’t afford to. If you can help then you should,” Bromfield told Career & Education.
This year, 38 Mico students received scholarships from over 20 donors from alumni and corporate Jamaica. Guest speaker, Allman Town Primary School principal and Lasco Principal of the Year Khandi-Lee Crooks also encouraged the recipients to make a return on the money invested in them.
“You owe us and you need to give back,” she urged.
By the JamaicaObserver.com