Every June fresh new graduates from the Manning's School in Savanna La Mar, Jamaica make their way across the stage to receive their diplomas. Just like American students, many of them are excited, nervous, and focused on what the future holds for them as they step out into the realm of adulthood.
Our visit this past May brought us into the heat of finals week as students rushed to their classes and fretted over exam scores with friends. There was an air of excitement and anticipation as the foundation team began preparing to interview the future 2019 scholarship applicants. Twelve bright, young students sat outside of the Manning's School building trading energized chatter, each preparing for an opportunity to pursue their future and impact Jamaica itself.
We were also joined by the previous scholarship recipients who all currently study at the university level. After meeting the students for the first time, it was a joy to hear their academic accomplishments and all the ways their education has continued to impact them after their time at Manning's. Shanique Sommerville, a 2018 scholarship recipient, talked with us about education and the impact it has had on her since graduation, “I can thoroughly say that from gaining an education I’ve been able to better myself, my family, and give back to the school that I’m from, and contribute to the program that has given me this wonderful opportunity.”
As the interviews got started, Saveenia Kelly, one of the previous scholarship recipients, took us for a tour of the school grounds. The school, which is divided up into first through sixth form (by age group), features an abundance of classrooms housing a variety of subjects
including math, literature, science, and the arts. First form to fourth form students take a variety of general courses for a well-rounded education. Older fifth and sixth form students have the opportunity to delve into more specific subjects that reflect their passions such as law, finance, or medicine.
Despite the outstanding intelligence, dedication, and ambition of these applicants, financial and personal struggles at home often derail any dreams they may have to pursue higher education. That's why the foundation strives to provide these passionate students with an opportunity to pursue higher education and, ultimately, careers that will help make Jamaica a better place.
In June, the foundation will make their selections from the 2019 applicants and provide two more wonderful students with the opportunity to attend the university.