Johnathan Cumberbatch and Jebarri Cumberbatch have done what many parents dream of for their children as both are recipients of scholarships.
Jebarri, a former student of Combermere School, was offered an athletic scholarship to Eastern Oregon University in 2015. His older brother Johnathan, a former student of Queen’s College and The University of the West Indies, was awarded a scholarship to China where he will be studying a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Economics and Management at the Central University of Finance and Economics.
Barbados TODAY conducted an interview with Jebarri and Johnathan to assess how they feel now that both have received scholarships.
BT: Describe how it felt when you found out that you won a scholarship?
Jebarri: I felt good about it, I could gain an opportunity that many people do not get to experience. It brings a feeling of accomplishment that you are making steps in the right direction to attain a desired goal.
Johnathan: I was happy and overjoyed that I got selected and humbled because of the amount of people worldwide who applied. I also felt humbled because I am getting a chance that not even some Chinese people get. I am also nervous and I have been for a few days because I am going to the next side of the world with no language training and being away from home alone for the first time.
BT: Was the feeling intensified as both of you won scholarships under the same household?
Jebarri: It’s a good feeling not just for me but for my family, my parents especially and my brothers. It shows them that all the sacrifices they made were worthwhile and it creates motivation for your siblings because they want to obtain the same opportunities and it drives them to do more and work harder.
Johnathan: It is a great feeling. First, that I get to see Jebarri can get out and be able to go to school and run as well. Like he said it’s not something that too many people get to do. For me I’m overjoyed. I know our mom is proud and it is going to create an atmosphere where all of us want to do better.
BT: How does it feel being on Scholarship?
Jebarri: Being on scholarship is an experience that is best described through physical encounters. Until you are in the situation it’s hard to imagine how it feels. Personally, it’s reassuring, everything you’ve thought of, the sacrifice, the work you’ve put in, it all feels like one big reward.
It also brings freedom in some instances, well I should use the word independence.
You now find yourself in a situation where you must make your own decisions. Yes, your parents are there in some cases via phone call etc., but in the moment or time, your decisions matter because they only affect you and you must live with the consequences.
Johnathan: I look forward to experiencing this. Also, not having to answer your parents or anyone for that matter. It forces you to grow up to survive basically.
BT: Jebarri you transferred from one college to another can you tell me why?
Jebarri: I transferred schools because I received a better offer. I was previously at Eastern Oregon University but now I am enrolled in Southeastern Louisiana University. My first offer was a partial scholarship at Eastern Oregon University, where I paid money out of pocket for some parts of school. This year the coach at South Eastern Louisiana University offered me a scholarship covering all my tuition books and fees. All I pay for are my flights home and to school over breaks and my apartment. Everything else is covered by scholarship.
BT: What are you studying or going to study?
Jebarri: My degree is in kinesiology which is basically biomechanics and body function.
Johnathan: I am going to study Sports Economics and Management.
BT: What are your plans for the future?
Jebarri: I am working on a plan to have my Masters paid for and go to graduate school right away. I also want to go professional with my athletic career, but that would be determined by my next three seasons. If that doesn’t work out then I would look to coach here in the [United States of America] or coach athletic training.
Johnathan: Well my plan is multi-phased. The first thing is obviously to get fluent in Mandarin and then get my degree. The next part is to come up with a plan for Government to build a sports academy here. I also plan on being a bridge between Barbados and China in terms of building investment opportunities in various sectors including sport. Biggest of all I want to see if I can find a way to put the expertise I gain along with Jebarri’s and create a sports oriented business.
BT: Jebarri you spoke about your athletic career being determined by the next three seasons can you explain?
Jebarri: Based on my development and my times in my respective events would determine if I am able to turn professional and my ability to make national teams. For example, the upcoming season, if I can qualify for NCAC U23 and I exceed the qualifying time of 10:45 say I ran 10:35 and I run that time consistently then I know within the next two seasons with the right work I could run 10.1 – 10.0 maybe a 9.9. Within those time ranges, I can secure myself a good contract with one of the three major sporting brands. Those times can also make the finals of international meets such as World Championships, the Olympics and Diamond League meets.
BT: What advice would you give to young men?
Jebarri: If you really want something don’t let anything stop you from achieving it and make the most of the opportunities that you are given.
Johnathan: Don’t be afraid of failure. Because failure is what causes you to be better. So, if you give up at the first hurdle you haven’t achieved anything. (LG)