THE National Community Foundation (NCF) handed out official letters of support yesterday to 34 students who were successful in their Common Entrance Exams recently.
Students and parents showed up at Ave Maria Girls Primary School where they were presented with their packages as well as some key advice and information about the terms under which the scholarships fall.
NCF’s Executive Director, Madonna Monrose, told The VOICE that the full-scholarships will be awarded to students from across the island, most of whom have attained above 80% in their exams. Monrose said the scholarships are necessary since many of the students come from economically-strapped backgrounds.
“A number of students on our list this year have deceased parents while others have parents who are ill – either physically or mentally,” Monrose said. “But, generally, they’re all deserving students.”
Monrose said the scholarships are contingent on need and merit. Each child must maintain a certain grade point average over the five-year period of the almost $15,000 scholarship. She said such terms must be adhered to since the NCF is making a huge investment to ensure that a serious approach to education becomes an important part of their future.
“In the end, you want to know that you’ve at least assisted that child in maybe getting a good job or continuing on to tertiary education,” Monrose said. “In that way, not just the child and the family, but the country can benefit.”
While students do not receive the actual funds, they, however, receive a package that entitles them to the schoolbooks, shoes, uniforms, payment for facility fees, payment for CSEC fees, as well as a contribution to their transportation and meal allowances.
Students are selected based on applications sent out by NCF during the month of May to every public primary school on the island. Deserving students are identified by principals and Grade 6 teachers who then recommend those students to the NCF. Parents also have the option of coming into the NCF to apply for such assistance, Monrose said.
Monrose said the process of shortlisting the students becomes a taxing one since applications from the island’s over 60 primary schools have to be gleaned over to make the final decisions.
The scholarship programme has been in effect for many years now and Monrose said the Foundation will continue to do its part to ensure that the NCF’s work benefits the community. She also expressed gratitude to all donors, volunteers and friends of the NCF who give their time, efforts and finances to ensure that others benefit.
Aside from assistance in education, the NCF – a non-profit philanthropic organization – assists Saint Lucians in other areas, namely health care, elderly, persons with disabilities, youth-at-risk, chess in schools, and the homeless. The greater part of its assistance, however, goes to education and health care.