JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Four former wards of the State have been presented with scholarships worth US$5,000 each by Children of Jamaica Outreach Inc. (COJO), a Jamaican charitable organisation based in New York.
  • All four awardees - Ruth-Ann Hamilton, Judi-Ann Oldacre, Mackoy McNish, and Kemar Henry - are now pursuing tertiary level education in the fields of accounts, languages and the sciences.
  • The students were presented with their awards at COJO’s annual scholarship awards luncheon, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, on September 10.

Four former wards of the State have been presented with scholarships worth US$5,000 each by Children of Jamaica Outreach Inc. (COJO), a Jamaican charitable organisation based in New York.

All four awardees – Ruth-Ann Hamilton, Judi-Ann Oldacre, Mackoy McNish, and Kemar Henry – are now pursuing tertiary level education in the fields of accounts, languages and the sciences.

The students were presented with their awards at COJO’s annual scholarship awards luncheon, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, on September 10.

They will also receive laptop computers. The scholarships were made possible through the Child Development Agency (CDA).

Ruth-Ann will be pursuing accounting at the University of Technology (UTech); Judi-Ann, languages at Shortwood Teachers’ College; Mackoy, medicine at the University of the West Indies; and Kemar, dentistry at UTech.

Addressing the recipients at the luncheon, Director, National College for Educational Leadership, Dr. Maurice Smith, reminded them that they should not allow their circumstances or where they are coming from to define where they are going.

“Whenever you walk on the campuses of the Universities…, when you interface and meet with people who come from other countries, do not believe the false notion that Jamaica is any worse off than anywhere else,” he said.

“We send you to school and we are investing in you because we need you to cultivate the right kind of perspective about Jamaica,” Dr. Smith added.

He noted that the knowledge, values and skills they will derive from the respective universities will assist the country in becoming the kind of place it ought to be for all to live, work, do business and to raise families.

Judi-Ann, who delivered part of her remarks in French, noted that being chosen for the scholarship signifies that they are positively making a mark, “as we aim towards greater achievements.”

“Personally, this scholarship acts as a motivation, knowing that there are so many students searching for an opportunity as lucrative as this and I have been blessed to receive this honour. I am now more motivated to come out of my comfort zone, work harder and push myself to the limit,” she said,

She thanked all the organizations that have aided in their development. “I implore you to continue lending your support to the positive growth and development of our nation’s children,” she said.

In his remarks, Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Holness, noted that members of the Diaspora play a crucial role in the development of the country.

He lauded the team from COJO for contributing to the lives of countless individuals over the 20 years, especially in the area of education.

For her part, Chief Executive Officer, Child Development Agency, Rosalee Gage-Grey, said partnerships are crucial in the educational advancement of wards in State care, while keeping them on the path of success.

She pointed out that COJO has assisted the agency in making upgrades to residential facilities as well as providing ‘brand new’ appliances to the homes.

The Chief Executive Officer informed that over the past two years, COJO has awarded scholarships valued at $2.5 million to former wards of the State.

Founder and Chairman of COJO, Gary Williams, informed that his willingness to give back stems from the assistance he has received throughout his life.

COJO is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to help improve the health, education and general well-being of underprivileged children. Over the past 10 years, the volunteer-driven organisation has supported a number of institutions in Jamaica and the United States.