UWI student breaks down in tears as he thanks Toronto donors
April 12, 2018
Most Caribbean students enter the University of the West Indies (UWI) not knowing where the financial resources will come from to complete their studies.
With just enough funds for a few semesters, many rely on scholarships to complete the journey.
When Yvonne Sargeant became unemployed after suffering a heart attack early in 2017, her son -- Kodee Sargeant -- was at a wit’s end trying to figure out how he would continue his medical studies.
The last of five siblings and the only one to make it to university, it seemed, would have to put his education on hold and find a job.
The Barbadian was on the verge of submitting his withdrawal letter when he got good news.
Sargeant is one of 43 recipients of 2017-18 UWI Toronto Benefit gala scholarships.
“I was so happy that I cried,” the third-year Cave Hill campus student said. “That was a life-changer for me.”
Sargeant shed tears again last Saturday night when he stepped up to the podium to thank his benefactors.
“By your contributions, you are providing opportunities for us to achieve our goals,” he tearfully said. “I stand before you as a proud beneficiary of your donations. I thank the donors for considering the plight and hardships of so many of us who are left to swim alone in a wide ocean of financial distress. Thank you for coming to our aid, thank you for being you and thank you for allowing us to realize our dreams.”
A medical career was on Sargeant’s radar at a very young age.
“I performed surgeries on the neighbourhood mice and I use to put on a long white shirt that my brother had that made me look like a doctor,” he said. “On my trips to the doctor’s office with my grandmother, I keenly observed the medical procedures he performed. I asked questions and was allowed to listen to my grandma’s heartbeat. A euphoric feeling often erupted from being allowed to play a pivotal role in my grandmother’s well-being.”
Sargeant is looking forward to being able to touch lives on a larger scale.
His goal is to become a medical physician and missionary.
Three years ago, he went on a medical mission to Guyana.
“We went into the hinterland and that was a very rewarding experience,” Sargeant added. “Through medical missions, I could reach out to my community, my country, my region and a wide cross-section of society to provide help for those who are marginalized and destitute.”
Beverly Hunter, who secured her undergraduate and graduate degrees from UWI, joined the university in 2001.
As the senior administrative officer in the office of the Board for Undergraduate Studies at Mona campus in Jamaica, most of her time is consumed with perusing the hundreds of scholarship applications that come in annually and conducting interviews.
“The thing about Kodee that impressed me is his missionary service,” the former Spanish teacher said. “Students will talk about what they want to do for themselves professionally. This young man wants to volunteer and he has already started out on that journey of bringing improved health care to the poor.”