Fifty-nine students who have excelled in examinations at the primary and tertiary levels yesterday received scholarships and grants totalling more than $8 million from the West Indies Alumina Company (WINDALCO).
The investment forms part of the company’s annual back-to-school programme, which benefits students who reside near or within WINDALCO’s operational areas in St Catherine, St Ann, Clarendon and Manchester.
Public Affairs Officer Monique Grange said WINDALCO takes pride in giving back to its host communities.
Speaking at the handover ceremony at Ewarton Works Sports Club yesterday (August 26), she said: “It was not a simple feat to invest more than $9 million in this year’s programme at this time, but the company views education as one of the most important facets in developing our communities.”
Human Resources Director at WINDALCO, Glendon Johnson, made it clear that the grants are not a handout, but an investment.
“This is the largest sum WINDALCO has invested in our scholarship and grants programme. It is a well-calculated investment given the challenges facing the company due to falling alumina prices. Nevertheless, we want to continue supporting our young people and encourage them to do well.”
Johnson also challenged the students to excel in their studies as they transition from primary to high school, and through university into the working world.
A first-time tertiary scholarship recipient and final-year student, Shanice Green, said she is grateful for the financial support.
“As university students, we have to work very hard to maintain our grades amid our financial challenges, and so we are more than grateful to WINDALCO for the financial assistance.”
Meanwhile, Barbara Coghill, the mother of a Primary Exit Profile scholarship recipient, said she can breathe easier knowing her daughter received assistance from WINDALCO to attend Immaculate Conception High School.
“She is my fourth child attending high school and I’m not in a job that pays well. I did not know where the money was coming from to send her to school in September. I can’t tell you how happy I am for the assistance from WINDALCO,” the parent said.
WINDALCO, in the meantime, said tertiary students are eligible for continued financial assistance from WINDALCO if they maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0.
It further stated that, in September, it will invest another J$1 million in grants to five final-year engineering students, who are studying at the University of Technology.
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