If you think education is expensive then you should try ignorance, goes the saying, but this adage is no comfort to Saint Lucian parents who must find, every year, hundreds of hard-to-come-by dollars for uniforms, books, school fees and, of course, external exams for their charges.
And while government attempts to assist with stipends and bursaries, it can only meet the needs of a few. It is left to parents to see how they can ensure their children have the tools they need to give them the best chance at securing a useful education.
Enter local organizations and institutions that have seen the need to lend a helping hand. One group of young men from the St Mary’s College is prepared to play a role in ensuring that as many young men in particular are given a chance at success. The group is giving back to their alma mater and to students who have what they describe as the drive and ability to excel.
The 1992 SMC Alumni, under the leadership of Jason Mathurin, together with the National Community Foundation (NCF) set up the Samarian Scholarship Fund to provide financial assistance via the Michael Mondesir Scholarship. Also pushing the effort are Greg Anderson, Deale Lee, Leslie Serieux, Kendell Gill and Gabriel Pierre. Last year partial scholarships were disbursed to three recipients of the St Mary’s College. The fund will serve primarily SMC students during the first two years and then extend to other secondary schools on the island.
The students are selected by the Samarian Scholarship Fund Selection Committee, comprising the six founding alumni members and Elina DuBoulay representing the Mondesir family. Applicants who wish to be considered must fill out forms available from the NCF and provide required information that will be used to assess their eligibility which is based on needs as well as performance. Students who receive scholarships must reapply every new school year. This ensures that scholarship recipients do not rest on their laurels. The students are also required to join a volunteer group or provide some form of community service.
Last Friday alumni members closely associated with the Fund met with the sponsored students during a lunchtime sit-down at the school. Mathurin said the activity was one of many ways they wish to interact and keep connected with the awardees as they attempt to make a difference in the lives of these young men.
Members of the public can support the initiative by donating to the National Community Foundation-Samarian Scholarship Fund account #660003377 at Bank of St Lucia. The Fund will be financed through donations and other fund-raising activities. Alumni members say any assistance that can be given through donations and other support will be greatly appreciated.
– Eliza Francis