By RON FANFAIR
There is a significant return on investment in education. Just ask any of the beneficiaries of University of the West Indies (UWI) Toronto benefit gala scholarships.
In the last three years, a scholarship winner has been invited to the city to provide those investing in their education with an idea of the effect of their resources.
This year, it was Sathara Hendricks’ turn. It was the first time she had left Jamaica and travelled on an aircraft.
In March 2013 when the Mona campus Faculty Humanities & Education student assured her two friends she was going to university, she had no idea where the financial resources were coming from to achieve the goal.
“The first question they asked was if I had signed up for a student loan,” said Hendricks who graduated from Immaculate Conception High School and was raised by a single parent. “I told them I didn’t, but I was going to go to UWI and do very well.”
A few unexpected curve balls were tossed at the confident young woman just as she was preparing to apply to UWI. Her mother lost her job and a cousin, who had offered to be a student loan guarantor, also joined the unemployment line.
Though discouraged, she was not about to give up on her dream.
Hendricks successfully applied for a UWI scholarship that covered her first three years of post-secondary education.
“Our lives are being positively transformed by your benevolence,” she said at the seventh annual fundraiser last Saturday night. “I would not be here without you. Your hard work and generosity isn’t going unnoticed and your belief in us keeps us going.”
Now aware of the impact of education donors, she’s giving back to her alma mater.
“I am an honour student and a representative for my degree program, but what I am most proud of is that I have developed a bursary at the primary school I attended,” said Hendricks. “It gives students entering high school that are in need of financial assistance the opportunity to feel how I did when I received my UWI Toronto scholarship. I knew that someone cared and my dreams are possible.”
Hendricks is enrolled in the three-year integrated marketing communication program at the Caribbean Institute of Media & Communication.
“The skills she’s learning in terms of communication across physical and social media channels are critical to the future of the Caribbean,” said Bruce Bowen, Scotiabank’s senior vice-president with responsibility for the Caribbean region.