Ewarton Student Collects First Ever Veronica Kelly GrantAugust 13, 2023
Thirteen-year-old Aleyah Thompson graduated from Ewarton Primary School in St Catherine with extra pride and joy after being hand-picked by her principal and teachers to be the recipient of the Veronica Kelly Grant for the year 2023.
The grant of $100,000 was established to honour the memory of Ewarton native Veronica Kelly who, in August 2022, lost her battle with cancer.
Her family said she was a devout mother, a beloved friend and an early childhood educator for several years. She instilled the value of education in her children as well as in the innumerable young people she encountered throughout her lifetime.
Her children and nieces attended Ewarton Primary, where she was a member of the Parent Teachers Association. As such, her children and friends developed and funded the grant as a means of continuing her service to Ewarton Primary School and the community.
They opted to give a Grade 6 student from the school the grant to assist with tuition, uniforms, books or other costs associated with attending high school.
Aliyah was selected for the inaugural grant after meeting several criteria, including being a member of the Ewarton community and also maintaining academic excellence.
After completing the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exams, she was placed at Queen’s High, which is one of the country’s top performing traditional secondary schools.
Aliyah told The Beacon that, although she is deserving of the grant, she was “very surprised” when she found out that she is the recipient.
She described herself as a well-prepared student who works hard despite having to tackle challenging assignments – all that in an effort to make her supporters proud.
Her message to upcoming sixth graders at Ewarton Primary and elsewhere is to: “Study hard, push forward – and please manage your time properly. Many students in Grade 6 have issues with time management.”
Aliyah’s achievement has not only inspired her peers, but her parents as well.
Her mother, Sharon Reid, told The Beacon that she feels “amazing and over the moon” about her daughter receiving the Veronica Kelly Grant.
She noted that Aleyah has done well despite there being financial difficulties and the fact that she does not live in a calm neighbourhood.
Reid added that she was actively involved in her daughter’s preparation for PEP by, among other things, asserting an organised study schedule and obtaining past-papers for practice.
She chuckled as she recalled an advice she often told her daughter: “Focus, Aliyah. Don’t pay attention to the noise of the market; make sure you wait for your change.”
Reid and her daughter also expressed gratitude to the Kelly family for the grant, noting that it has not only given Aleyah resources needed to start high school, but also gave her additional motivation to keep working hard.
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