- The Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce Pocket Rocket Foundation is focused on the development of promising young athletes
- The foundation provides scholarships to cover their academic costs
- Mrs. Neita Headley urged other members of corporate Jamaica to follow suit
Seven Jamaican student-athletes are proud recipients of scholarships valued at approximately $700,000 through the Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce Pocket Rocket Foundation.
The foundation, founded and chaired by sprint superstar Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, is focused on the development of promising young athletes in secondary schools, by providing scholarships to cover their academic costs, inclusive of tuition, books, lunch and travel.
The inaugural awardees are: Ardenne High School student Shavar Scott for volleyball; Rojaire Bingham, Mona High School for track and field, football, and cricket; Brenton Bartley, Campion College for volleyball; Tahjia Lumley from Papine High School for squash; Jovaine Atkinson, Kingston College for track and field; Carlton Collins from Munroe College for track and field; and Kimone Shaw, St. Jago High School, track and field.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony at Devon House on Tuesday, September 17 Minister with responsibility for Sports, Hon. Natalie Neita Headley implored the recipients to allow “this scholarship to set the foundation for greatness, a keen commitment to integrity in sport, humility, and ambassadorial service to your country.”
She commended Mrs. Fraser Pryce for her vision of providing academic scholarships to student-athletes across the island.
“You are spreading the wealth among a variety of schools and a variety of sporting disciplines. In this respect, you follow in the large and illustrious shoes of the father of Jamaican athletics, G. C. Foster, who also believed that what he had to give, should be shared across school boundaries and across sporting disciplines,” she said.
Mrs. Neita Headley noted that the future of Jamaican sports hangs on simple actions such as that of the Pocket Rocket Foundation, adding that academic excellence is made more secure by the provision of grants and scholarships.
She urged other members of corporate Jamaica to follow suit in providing scholarships to Jamaican students.
In his remarks, Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, encouraged the parents to continue playing a supportive role in their child’s life while ensuring that the balance in sports and education are met.
For her part, Mrs. Fraser Pryce noted that a conscious decision was made to ensure that student athletes across a number of disciplines would benefit.
She noted that support, whether financially or otherwise, plays a critical role in a student’s progress during school. “This is a legacy I want to continue even after I am gone to make sure that children here in Jamaica, especially student athletes get the dream and the vision and the support that I got when I was in school,” she said.
President of the Foundation, Bruce James, informed that once the student athletes maintained their average, their individual contracts, valued $100,000 would be renewed at the start of the academic year.
Expressing gratitude on behalf of the recipients, Shavar Scott said they will continue to do their best, both in their respective sporting disciplines and in their academics. “We feel very special…and I am charging the recipients of the scholarship to walk in Shelly Ann’s footsteps and make footsteps of your own,” he said.
Through donations and fundraisings, the foundation will provide scholarships to high school students from second to sixth form, who represent their school in any sporting discipline.
The Foundation was officially launched in May of this year. Board members include: Donovan Walker; Jeffery Gordon; Colleen Montague; Raphael Walker and Paula Pinnock-MacLeod.
For further details on the criteria for receiving scholarships and to download an application form, visit the foundation’s website at www.pocketrocketfoundation.com.