Barbados Canada Foundation supports academic excellence
November 9, 2017
If someone is willing to contribute to your educational advancement, it’s incumbent on the recipient to make every effort to show up at the scholarship presentation and thank the donor.
McGill University third-year student Brian Wood believes that.
Just after completing a class in Ottawa last week, he hopped on a Toronto-bound train to accept his John Rollock Memorial (JRM) scholarship later that day. A few hours later, he returned to school for a mid-morning class.
This is the third-straight year that the international student has been a recipient of the scholarship administered by the Barbados Canada Foundation.
Wood didn’t attend the awards in 2015 because it clashed with an afternoon exam.
“I think it’s important for me to be at the ceremony to show my gratitude, network with the other winners and let the donor know how much this scholarship is advancing my education,” he said. “In my opinion, it says to the people who are giving the scholarships and the organizers that this student takes this very seriously and we should keep doing this to help other young people achieve their dreams.”
Undergraduate students can apply more than once for a JRM scholarship.
The first-time winners were Marissa Birkett, Tshai Carter, Jaryd Christie, Syenne Holder, Shaquel Sealy and Renee Goodridge.
Enrolled in Trent University’s concurrent education program, Goodridge is near her goal of becoming a junior intermediate teacher.
“I like working with kids, but it wasn’t until I was in Grade 10 when I did an online aptitude test did I figure out where my interest lie,” said the Holy Name of Mary Catholic Secondary School graduate whose grandparents were born in Barbados.
She recently returned from the Caribbean island after a semester at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill campus.
“The five months I was there was an incredible experience,” Goodridge added. “It was fulfilling to interact with students from all parts of the Caribbean and be exposed to a new culture.”
After it was announced that Barbadian students pursuing studies at UWI campuses would be required to pay tuition fees from 2014, Sugar Bay Barbados human resources manager Karen Christie decided her only child, who graduated from Queen’s College, would study overseas.
“She thought it would be better to spend the money with a foreign school,” said Jaryd Christie who is a third-year medical biophysics student at the University of Western Ontario (UWO). “The United States was ruled out because of all the craziness going on there and England was too expensive.”
The UWO, the University of Toronto and Ryerson University were the Canadian options.
“Mom didn’t want me to be caught up in the hustle and bustle of downtown Toronto, so we settled on the coziness of London,” said Christie made the Dean’s List in his first year. “She thought it would be ideal for me and she was right.”
He plans to pursue a Master’s and probably his PhD in Canada before returning home.
“I feel I am more needed in the country of my birth than here,” said Christie who has an interest in medical radiation and oncology physics.
Christie and Holder, a first-year Carleton University student pursuing architectural design, were the recipients of the inaugural Diproinduca Canada Ltd. scholarships.
The students will receive $3,000 annually for the duration of their undergraduate studies.
“It was my suggestion that students get the money for the entire period of their first degree studies and I am happy that the organizers accepted it,” said Diproinduca president and chief executive officer Efrain Riera.
The environmental management firm has subsidiaries in the United States, Chile, Egypt, Mexico, Spain, Venezuela, Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados.
“I have been going to Barbados for years and I just love the country and its people,” said Riera who migrated from Venezuela. “I believe in corporate responsibility and promoting excellence which are the reasons for me stepping up to the plate to assist young people.”
Sealy completed George Brown College’s community worker program and is enrolled in Ryerson University’s social work program, Birkett – who represented Barbados in soccer at the youth level – is a first-year kinesiology student at Wilfrid Laurier University and Carter is in the University of Ottawa’s social studies and political science program.
In the keynote address, RBC senior executive Mark Beckles told the recipients to use the scholarships to bolster their education.
“Young people are the innovators, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, social commentators and activists of tomorrow,” he said. “They are the scientists, engineers, analysts and teachers. They are the white and blue-collar employees who will lead us into the future. It is in our best and native interest that we invest in them on a scale as never before. That is why this scholarship event is so important and that is why the diaspora organizations are important.”
A total of 55 scholarships worth $156,000 have been granted under the JRM scholarship program launched in 2008.