Fourteen children of employees of the National Irrigation Commission Limited (NIC) walked away from a presentation ceremony in Kingston two Wednesdays ago with scholarships valued at over $700,000. The scholarships were presented for both the 2015/16 and 2016/17 academic years, as follows:
• 4 secondary awards at $40,000 each
• 3 tertiary awards at $60,000 each
• 2 Board of Directors’ awards at $67,500 each
• 3 secondary awards at $40,000 each
• 2 tertiary awards at $60,000 each
The commission reported last week that the scholarship awards programme originated from a partnership in 1988 with NIC and the various unions representing its workers. It awards students who are children of permanent employees, with the selection based on academic performance. Consideration is also given to involvement in extra-curricular activities and deportment. The awardees are chosen by a Selection Committee comprising of internal and external members, including representatives of NIC’s management, unionised staff delegates, the unions representing the workers, and an educator.
At Wednesday’s ceremony, principal of The College of Theological and Interdisciplinary Studies in Jamaica, Rev. Michael E Hammond, encouraged the awardees to remain focused on their educational goals. He brought to their attention Jamaican footballer Leon Bailey, who is successfully playing football overseas, who commented recently on a television programme that he was there to play football, and that that was his singular focus.
In reinforcing his point, the Rev. Hammond highlighted what he called the four pillars for the platform to success — dedication, discipline, diligence and determination — and urged the awardees to use these pillars to overcome whatever challenges that may come.
Also speaking at the ceremony was medical doctor, farmer, and deputy chairman of the NIC, Dr. Horace Charoo, who represented the Chairman, Senator Aubyn Hill. He spoke emphatically about the need for rural development in Jamaica. Describing himself as a country boy, Hill said he felt that by taking care of its rural folks, Jamaica will solve much of it social problems and he is convinced that this will also solve some of Jamaica’s crime problems. He also reassured the awardees and others present that the board of the NIC was in full support of the Scholarship Awards Programme.
He said he was particularly pleased with the partnership between the unions and the NIC which gave birth to the awards, because unions are mostly only associated with strikes, demonstrations and roadblocks.
Representing the parents of the awardees, Michael Thomas, spoke glowingly of the scholarships as he said without them he and his wife couldn’t have managed to afford their children the opportunity of a proper education.
The awardees themselves played several roles at the function, from providing entertainment, introducing the guest speaker, offering prayers, to delivering the vote of thanks.