- Alpart, through its Community Council, has provided educational assistance to 625 students
- The programme assists needy students at all levels of the educational spectrum
- They sought to give two high school students five-year scholarships
As part of its quest to support the development of children, Alumina Partners of Jamaica (Alpart), through its Community Council, has provided educational assistance to 625 students in South Manchester, and St. Elizabeth, valued at $2.6 million.
Speaking at a back-to-school ceremony, held at the Alpart Sports Club, in Nain, St. Elizabeth, on August 15, Administrator of the Council, Camilla Blake, explained that the educational programme, now in its third year, has reached more students than in previous times.
“The programme assists needy students at all levels of the educational spectrum -early childhood level, primary level, secondary level and tertiary level – and they are all drawn from the communities neighbouring Alpart,” he noted.
While the initiative has catered to all categories of students, this year they sought to give two high school students five-year scholarships that would take them through their secondary education.
“They had to have an average of 90 per cent and more. Applicants had to demonstrate financial need, and they had to have a good record of discipline and potential at their school; and took part in extra curricula activities, because we are looking for rounded individuals,” Miss Blake said.
“We had 17 applicants who fit the criteria outlined. After an interview process and deliberations, the two successful students were selected, and a decision was made by management that hard work should be rewarded, so each of the other 15 applicants will receive a grant valued at $15,000 for their first year at high school,” she said.
Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for South Manchester, Hon. Michael Peart, provided educational support for some 150 students residing in the Alligator Pond Division, at a cost of over $500,000 from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
“Next year we will be taking this programme to another level where your academic achievement and your attendance record will be investigated before a disbursement is made, to make sure that students who benefit from the programme are deserving of it, not only on need, but on performance,” Mr. Peart said.
Both the Member of Parliament for South East St. Elizabeth, Mr. Richard Parchment, and Managing Director for Alpart, Mr. Timothy O’Driscoll, encouraged the students to do their best at school and reap the rewards in later years.
For his part, Chairman of the Council, Lenworth Blake, reported that the group has spent some $12 million over the past year to develop communities, and for educational development.
“There is no community around the plant where we have not done a project. We have helped the farmers, police station, fire station, and community centres. We also see the worth of education and we are prepared to invest in education,” Mr. Blake told the audience.