Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 08, 2017 (SKNIS): Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris’ Help-a-Child program has made a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of primary school students, who have benefited from his generosity over the past 14 years.
The program was initiated by Dr. Harris to lend support to families from Constituency #7, who have children demonstrating potential and are in need of the funds from the scholarship program. The 14th annual presentation ceremony was held on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 at the New Testament Church of God in Tabernacle.
It’s a very good initiative,” said Kathuel Browne, Principal of the Edgar T. Morris Primary School in Tabernacle.
Ms. Browne has been with the school for the past 10 years, and before that spent a number of years at the Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School. This means that she was teaching at a school within the Constituency when the scholarship program was introduced.
Principal Browne praised Prime Minister Harris for his willingness to empower persons of all ages from the area. She said that the $500 bursaries make a noticeable difference in students’ lives, as their families use the funds to purchase new uniforms, school supplies and other educational items.
Meanwhile, Principal Suzette Cannonier of the Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School said students’ attitudes typically improve once they receive the $500 award, as the Help-a-Child scholarship serves as a motivational tool.
“It shows them that someone cares and believes in them and makes them feel proud,” she said. The principal added that students’ academic performance actually improves, which she says is due in part to the increased access to educational tools and materials that make them better equipped to learn in the classroom.
“It is a good investment in the students,” Principal Cannonier added.
Sixty-eight students were presented with their scholarship funds at Tuesday’s ceremony. Help-a-Child Coordinator Myrtilla Williams said the recipients are chosen by their schools’ leadership based on their potential but, most importantly, the financial background of their parents or guardians. Those with a greater need are prioritized.
This year’s awardees include students who reside in the constituency, but attend a school outside of the boundaries. Nominations were reviewed by a committee that selected the candidates based on the abovementioned guidelines.
This allowed for seven students from the Cotton Thomas Comprehensive School to receive scholarships.
Ms. Williams said the demand for support is growing, and Prime Minister Harris has committed to do all that is reasonably possible to empower the residents of the constituency. To this end, all of the schools from the area, namely the Edgar T. Morris, Estridge, Joshua Obadiah Williams, and Violet Petty Primary Schools were also presented with a number of educational supplies.
Principals Browne and Cannonier thanked Prime Minister Harris for his invaluable contributions to the advancement of education and his continued service to the community. The $34,000 in bursaries presented during Tuesday’s ceremony brought the total amount awarded to date under the Help-a-Child program to $251,500. Over the 14 years, $500 bursaries have been given to a total of 503 students.