WATCH: Linstead students get scholarships from Mount ZionJanuary 16, 2023 0 By Jamaica Beacon
Two university students from Linstead in St Catherine are less apprehensive about their tuition after their church presented them with individual scholarships.
The Mount Zion Apostolic Tabernacle Group of Churches, headed by Bishop Frank Otto, gave each of the two students a cheque valued at $100,000.
The recipients are Kartica Carter who is studying Communication Arts and Technology at the University of Technology (U-Tech), and Brianna Brown who is pursuing a first degree in Biochemistry and minor in Food Chemistry at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona.
Brown got the scholarship that wears the church group’s name, while Carter received the Baker Green Scholarship that was named in honour of two former bishops of the church group – Redland Green and Ernest Baker.
“I am really grateful for the scholarship; it will bestow multiple benefits in my life – such as pushing me one step closer to achieving my dreams,” said Carter, a baptized Christian since eight years old.
She explained that, after graduating from secondary school, she had placed university enrollment on hold due to financial challenges.
She eventually took the leap of faith.
Carter said her tuition at U-Tech is $450,000 annually. She previously attained two scholarships – the WINDALCO scholarship as well as the Jamar Thelwell Memorial Scholarship.
With the latest one, which is from her church group, Carter now has a balance of $150,000 in terms of tuition. She also noted that the scholarships don’t cover other expenses such as fare.
“God has blessed me with these scholarships,” she declared.
Carter, who earned eight CSEC subjects from the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), is an alumna of Little People In Training Pre-school, Ewarton Primary and St Catherine High.
“Education is really important,” she emphasized.
Her mother, Reshemah Lawes, a chef and single parent of three daughters, is proud of her achievements and grateful to those who have assisted her especially with scholarships.
In relation to the latest scholarship, which was presented by the church group, Lawes said: “I feel good because, really and truly, I have it hard sending her to university. The scholarship is very important because, as a single mother who don’t have it (money), it causes stress on me.”
The other scholarship recipient, Brown, also lauded the Mount Zion Apostolic Tabernacle Group of Churches for its benevolence.
“It is such a blessing to see God opening so many doors for me,” she said while expressing optimism that she will, one day, be in a position to give back more substantially to the needy and the church.
Brown, like Carter, also previously got a WINDALCO scholarship, which she said is valued at $150,000. Her tuition at UWI is just over $350,000, she disclosed. The church group’s assistance is a meaningful relief.
Brown attended Little People In Training Pre-school, as well as Ewarton Primary, Lorna Otto Prep, and Angels Primary where she did the last two years of primary school. She is also a graduate of St Andrew High School for Girls.
Brown, who held different leadership positions in primary and high schools, attained nine CSEC subjects – all with the highest grade possible (Grade One). She also earned eight CAPE subjects from CXC.
“Brianna has been doing extremely well and, for that, I am proud. And I also give God thanks,” said the young scholar’s mother, Valrie Brown, who also encouraged students in general to work hard and don’t give up.
The Mount Zion Apostolic Tabernacle Group of Churches made the scholarship presentation to Brown and Carter on 18 December 2022, during a Sunday service at the church group’s current headquarters – Linstead Pentecostal Tabernacle, St Catherine.
Jeremy Pinnock, recently appointed head of the church group’s scholarship committee, stated that four applicants were shortlisted last year.
The prerequisites include enrollment in a tertiary training institution, membership in one of the 13 churches within the group, and a track record of community service.
Pinnock, who intends to expand the initiative, declared that corporate sponsorship is also welcomed in order to reach more students.
“We would like to start reaching out to the wider community to come onboard with us. We have some excellent young people and, if you invest in them, the returns for the community and wider Jamaica would be great,” he reasoned.
His predecessor, Yvonne Campbell, has the distinction of being the first head of the church group’s scholarship committee. She coordinated the programme for nearly 20 years.
Campbell lauded the new leadership of the committee as well as those who have served the churches over the years.
It was under the leadership of Bishop Otto that the scholarship committee was formed, according to Campbell.
“The scholarship initially was embedded in, I think, the Bishop’s Cup Trophy for Most Exciting Church, Most Progressive Church, and so on,” she recalled. “It was later singled out and I had the responsibility of setting the terms of reference for the scholarship. That has changed over time… We’ve grown from strength to strength.”
Campbell said there initially was only one scholarship, but the number grew to three, and eventually dropped back to two.
Noting that there are more students in need of financial assistance, Campbell expressed hope for the return of the third scholarship, which was known as the McLean’s Scholarship.
“I was blessed to have worked in the scholarship department to push the process along and to help young people to earn scholarships and bursaries to facilitate their educational progress,” Campbell said.
The Mount Zion Apostolic Tabernacle Group of Churches scholarship committee stated that it, so far, awarded more than JA$3 million in scholarships and bursaries since 2003.
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