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  • Young people are being encouraged not to use poverty and debilitating circumstances as excuses to fail, but to use education as a vehicle for social advancement and to rise from poverty.
  • He was speaking at an awards luncheon for the presentation of the Bayley-Hay and Herman Johnson scholarships, hosted by the Montego Co-operative Credit Union at Day’O Plantation Restaurant in Montego Bay on July 13.
  • From a field of 50 applicants, Calvin Lindo and Shannaia McDowells; and Oshane Stewart and Breanna McLeary, children of the co-operative’s members who were successful in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), were presented with scholarships from the Bayley-Hay and Herman Johnson Scholarship Funds, respectively.

Young people are being encouraged not to use poverty and debilitating circumstances as excuses to fail, but to use education as a vehicle for social advancement and to rise from poverty.

“Understand that education is the fundamental means for social transformation and empowerment…the best means of having a fighting chance in a challenging world is education,” said President of the Senate, Floyd Morris.

He was speaking at an awards luncheon for the presentation of the Bayley-Hay and Herman Johnson scholarships, hosted by the Montego Co-operative Credit Union at Day’O Plantation Restaurant in Montego Bay on July 13.

From a field of 50 applicants, Calvin Lindo and Shannaia McDowells; and Oshane Stewart and Breanna McLeary, children of the co-operative’s members who were successful in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), were presented with scholarships from the Bayley-Hay and Herman Johnson Scholarship Funds, respectively.

Senator Morris, who is visually challenged, urged the young scholars to be determined to reach their goals regardless of circumstances.

“Education is what is going to put you in a better stead to develop yourselves intellectually and to earn a decent wage. As someone who came from a humble background, I used education (to get) where I am today. I came from a long journey and a long struggle, but I was destined and committed to being different,” he said.

Pointing to distractions and challenges facing the youth, particularly the internet, Senator Morris said parental support is essential to keeping youngsters on course, and lauded his mother for her support through difficult times when he lost his sight.

He said that harsh economic realities have caused parents to travel overseas for employment, leaving children to be cared for by siblings and grandparents.

“This has contributed to many of our young people losing focus, many of our young people losing their way, and it is very disheartening for me, because it is putting pressure on the Jamaican society, and what we are seeing is the replication of a cycle that if not cauterised sooner than later, is going to have serious implications for the ambitious, but realisable targets of Vision 2030,” said Senator Morris.

He charged the awardees and their parents to “dare to be different,” and to be determined in their educational pursuits.

Senator Morris lauded Montego Co-operative Credit Union for its sterling contribution to the development of the community, and the human capital, which constitutes its membership.

For his part, President of Montego Co-operative Credit Union, Lambert Johnson, urged the students to make the best of  the opportunities that will come while pursuing their secondary education.

Mr. Johnson told the awardees to approach their studies with discipline, dedication and determination,

“My experience has shown that brilliance can take you so far and no (further), but when you marry brilliance with the three Ds (discipline, dedication and determination), the world will sit at your feet .. and with this you can rest assured that you can achieve all your dreams in life,” he said.

Meanwhile, to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Bailey-Hay Scholarship, the credit union presented two additional five-year scholarships, 10 bursaries and two Awards for Excellence amounting to $350,000.

General Manager of Montego Co-operative Credit Union, Ornell Bedasse, told the gathering that over the period, the credit union has awarded 46 Bailey-Hay scholarships and 45 bursaries at a cost of $4.2 million.