St Michael School has finally joined the narrow band of schools here to be awarded the Barbados Scholarship.
Breaking into the decades-long domain of Harrison College and Queen’s College was Nathan Justin Lovell, 90 years after his school opened, and in its fifth year with a Sixth Form.
Lovell joined loudly cheering and applauding award-winners, parents and guardians at an informal presentation ceremony – itself a first for the 139-year-old academic prize – held at the Erdiston Teachers Training College, and streamed ‘live’ on Facebook.
After Deputy Chief Education Officer Joy Adamson announced this year’s scholarships and exhibitions, rewarding the highest grades in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE), Lovell was specially congratulated by Minister of Education Santia Bradshaw.
“The nursery school I went to was Sunrise Prep and then I went to St George Primary School and then I went to St Michael School and I plan to study medicine at UWI, either Mona or Cave Hill. I haven’t decided yet,” Lovell said in brief remarks to the gathering.
His was St Michael’s lone scholarship among 23 awardees this year, 12 of whom came from Harrison College and ten from Queen’s College.
Among the scholarship awardees are Robyn Campbell and Kobi Talma of Harrison College, and Aaliyah Young and Jasmine Sheppard of Queen’s College.
Campbell, a whiz at chemistry, pure mathematics and physics, plans to study chemical engineering at Northern Ireland’s Queen’s University Belfast.
Talma, currently on a trip to Croatia, plans to study environmental science at the University of California.
Young intends to study medicine at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies. She hopes to become an orthopaedic surgeon.
Sheppard, who studied biology, environmental science, and chemistry at CAPE, is headed to Canada to study biomedical science at York University, Ontario.
But against a backdrop of budget cutbacks and just three months in office, the Mia Mottley administration will have to find substantially more cash to fund the rising number of Barbados Exhibitions, partial scholarships for the nation’s high achievers, whose numbers nearly doubled to 32 this year, from 19 last year.
Seventeen of the exhibitions have gone to Queen’s College, ten to Harrison College, three to the Barbados Community College (BCC) and two to St Michael School.
Among those receiving the Exhibitions are Harrison College’s Mackenzie Brancker and Ruth Harris; Tia Makayla and Matthew Clarke of Queen’s College; Chloe Branker and Naresa McRwray-Williams of St Michael School and Andaiye Burrowes and Brandon Griffith from BCC.
The Minister of Education told the gathering of her delight to be part of the presentation of scholarships and exhibitions for the first time for those studies who had excelled in the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) CAPE examination.
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics scholars – 40 in all – dominated the 55 scholarships and exhibitions awards. Many of them plan further studies in biomedical science and medicine.
“This year there are 23 students who have attained grade ones in eight units of their programmes and who will be awarded a Barbados Scholarship,” Bradshaw said, adding that there was a six per cent increase in the number of exhibition winners.
While acknowledging the increase in exhibitions would challenge Government in finding the additional funding, the minister expressed pleasure that the investment in the island’s human resources was worth the money.
But she issued a call to national service for the scholars upon completion of their studies.
“The only thing I would ask is that all of you to do for the investment that is being made in you, that you give back to your country,” Bradshaw said.
The scholarship and exhibition winners were also reminded that they would be required to sign bonds to work in Barbados upon completion of their course of study. Defaulters are required to pay the value of the award.
The grades for the CAPE exams are to be released on Sunday, education officials said.
The Barbados Scholarship was introduced in 1879.