On Wednesday June 26th, University scholarships were awarded by the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba to eleven young Saint Lucians who have excelled in their academic performance. The scholarships were all awarded for studies in the field of medicine which the recipients will pursue in Cuba. The Students were recognised and awarded their scholarships at the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba, in Rodney Bay. Present at the ceremony were the eleven recipients of the scholarships, the Cuban Ambassador to Saint Lucia, Alejandro Simancas Marin; Senator Mary Isaac, Minister for Health and Wellness, and Tessa N. Augustin, Human Resource Development Officer in the Ministry of Education and Claudia Louis, Planning Officer in the Ministry of Education.
Speakers at the ceremony delivered speeches to encourage and motivate the recipients of the scholarships to take full advantage of the opportunity. To this end, students were admonished to pay attention to their studies and never lose faith no matter how challenging circumstances may become.
Senator Mary Isaac in addressing the student, emphasised, “Make the best of it, stick to your studies, do not lose focus, and you will get where it is you aspire to go. We in Saint Lucia are hoping that you come back with something that we all can be proud of.”
Claudia Louis in her turn remarked, “At the Department of Education we are indeed proud of this moment. We have another group of students who are going to pursue their dreams and aspirations, but it is beyond your personal dreams and aspirations as it also represents the dreams of a developing country, our country Saint Lucia. So we congratulate you at this point. You have come this far because of your hard work and your perseverance. There were many applicants and your applications stood out for a reason; so congratulations, but this is just the first part of the journey. We wish you well.”
Scholarship recipient Human Medicine, Joshua Donaie, who attended the Choiseul Secondary School, said that it was always his dream to study medicine. He said that he has also been interested in learning Spanish, so the opportunity to study in Cuba where he can learn the language was a privilege. The 20-year-old already has a vision for his future. Upon completion of his studies in Cuba, he said, “I will do a few years as a general practitioner after which I will go back to specialise in surgery. I am not sure what branch of surgery that will be just yet, but I will eventually.”
Petreuse Edward, who also received a scholarship for Human Medicine, remarked, “Ever since I was at St Joseph Convent, I always wanted to study in Cuba because some of the best doctors that we have here in Saint Lucia studied in Cuba. In the beginning it was very daunting for me because in addition to medicine being a difficult subject, one also has to learn Spanish, but I said, ‘If so many people can do it why can’t I?’ I am taking on the challenge and I really want to do well. I am going with an open mind and an open heart. I want to specialise later on in neurosurgery because we currently have only one neurosurgeon on island; so hopefully I will be the first female neurosurgeon.”
Petreuse was very enthusiastic as were the other recipients at the presentation ceremony.