Feature
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship for Canada, Hon. Ahmed Hussen, (right) greets St Jago High School student, Suddene Stone. Mr Stone, who was recently awarded the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship to study in Canada, paid a courtesy call on the Minister, at the High Commission of Canada, 10 Waterloo Road in Kingston.
Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson

Story Highlights

  • St Jago High School student, Suddene Stone has been awarded the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship.
  • Speaking with JIS News, High Commissioner of Canada to Jamaica, Her Excellency Laurie Peters said that she was pleased to learn of Suddene’s contribution to his school and community.
  • Mr Hussen said that international students are welcomed “not just to come and study in Canada but also to stay and work upon graduation,” he stated, adding that international students are allowed to stay and work for three years after attending a public institution in the country.

St Jago High School student, Suddene Stone has been awarded the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship.

He will leave the island in August, 2019, to begin a four-year programme at the University of Toronto (UoT) in Canada.

Mr. Stone is one of 37 recipients worldwide who have been named Lester B. Scholars this year. The Canadian scholarship, which covers tuition, books and living expenses is awarded to international students who demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and strong leadership skills within their school.

Emphasis is also placed on the impact the student has had on their community.

To qualify, students must be in their final year of secondary school or have graduated no later than June 2019. They should also be an original and creative thinker, committed to school and community.

The Lester B. Pearson recipient said he is grateful to have received the scholarship.

“Well I feel very honoured, because I’m the only one from Jamaica. And so that’s a really big privilege to know that I could compete against students from all across the world…., and be a part of that cohort of only 37,” he said during an interview with JIS News.

Asked how he learnt about the scholarship, Mr Stone said he started researching for overseas programmes and institutions since entering fourth form.

“I noticed the Lester B. Pearson [scholarship], which was a very prestigious one where only one from a school can be nominated and only 37 across the world [are chosen] and it looked very competitive, but that did not stop me from applying,” he said.

The young scholar, who had always had dreams of studying in Canada, said he took steps from early to ensure that his dreams became a reality.

“At the University of Toronto, thousands of students apply, so I feel really good to get into the school, as well as, to be a part of the limited amount of scholarships that they give, so I feel very proud of myself. I feel like my years in high school were not wasted,” he added.

Besides his studies, Mr Stone said he finds time to participate in sporting and outreach activities.

“I love involvement, if I’m not involved in something I’m going to feel very bored and so I always keep myself occupied as much as possible and I try to be an inspiration to others,” he said.

The 18 year old has served as Head Boy of St Jago High School, Spanish Town, from 2018 to 2019 and in the school’s Managers’ League.

He was Student Manager for the Girls’ Football Team, Key Club Lieutenant Governor at large and a peer counsellor. He also served as coordinator of the Emerging Global Leaders Jamaica (EGLJ) Conference 2019.  EGLJ is a youth leadership organisation that is aimed at identifying and training persons who have the potential of becoming global leaders.

“I really love service. I think that’s my purpose here. I really love helping the less fortunate. I really love giving a loving hand to a person who doesn’t know love,” he added.

Mr Stone who recently pursued subjects at the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) level, namely, Sociology, Economics, Literatures in English and Caribbean Studies said he will be studying psychology at UoT.

His desire to enter into this field stems from his observation of how some persons deal with mental illness.

“I have a passion for mental health. I think it is a subject that is under-looked. People don’t appreciate it that much. People, especially Jamaicans have the notion that if you don’t have a broken arm, or you don’t have a wound or so, you’re not really sick,” he said.

Mr Stone said he will be applying the knowledge gained at university to improve the well-being of Jamaicans, especially the youth.

“I believe that a lot of the crime is associated with poor mental health and so I think it’s an area worth venturing and I’m sure that when I’m finished studying [I will] apply it as best as possible to Jamaica and see how we can move forward for the better,” he added.

Speaking with JIS News, High Commissioner of Canada to Jamaica, Her Excellency Laurie Peters said that she was pleased to learn of Suddene’s contribution to his school and community.

“He apparently contributes not only to the school life, sports, academics, but also to his community and we’re delighted to learn that he wants to bring back what he achieves and receives from his University of Toronto’s studies to lift up Spanish Town, lift up his family and lift up Jamaica. So a really worthy recipient for a highly coveted scholarship,” she added.

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship for Canada, Hon. Ahmed Hussen, who recently visited Jamaica for a two-day working visit said that he is very happy with the growth in the number of Jamaican students who are considering post- secondary and post-graduate education in Canada.

“We think there is room for further growth but we’re very happy with the trajectory so far, we have seen an increase in the last number of years,” he told JIS News.

He attributed the increase to the approach to immigration by the Government of Canada.

“The Government of Justin Trudeau has been very clear on the importance of immigration to Canada as being one of the key fibres of our economic growth, addressing labour market shortages as well as adding to our skills base. We have to ensure that we keep that momentum going,” he said.

Mr Hussen said that international students are welcomed “not just to come and study in Canada but also to stay and work upon graduation,” he stated, adding that international students are allowed to stay and work for three years after attending a public institution in the country.