GOVERNMENT Senator Abka Fitz-Henley has lauded more than 100 recipients of tertiary education tuition grants in west St Mary and encouraged them to remain focused on their dreams and aspirations regardless of the distractions and challenges which may arise.
The tuition grants, totalling $4 million, were gifted to the students by St Mary Western Member of Parliament Robert Montague, who urged the recipients not to forget where they are coming from and to, if possible, give back to those in need when they are in a position to do so.
In the meantime, Fitz-Henley, who was guest speaker at the handing over ceremony on Tuesday, called on the students to attempt to mentally navigate challenges by imagining the success story they will be in a few years should they hold strain and maintain the discipline required to complete their courses of study.
He underscored that information is easily accessible now compared to former years, and argued that the students have no excuse not to put themselves in a position that allows them to enter the working world having already attained the applicable knowledge from their tertiary studies.
“I want you to understand that there are thousands of students who may be in need of an additional push via a tuition grant. Your very presence here is part of your success story. It means that during the assessment process there were signs of your potential to go further and, therefore, your Member of Parliament has seen it fit to make this investment.
So even as you are at an early stage of your development, and there’s a far way to go, you should be proud of what you’ve achieved to date,” said Fitz-Henley.
He encouraged the grant recipients not to give up on their dreams and aspirations and not to be bashful about asking for help.
The Government senator told the students to view tertiary education as a stepping stone to their ultimate push towards success.
Fitz-Henley also urged the students to contemplate studies in areas such as computer science, software development, data science, and various types of engineering as he pointed out that in Jamaica, and across many sections of the globe, there’s a high demand for experts in those areas.
“I have scanned the audience and have no doubt that some of you are introverts and some extroverts. However, what I am sure about is that there’s a potential leader within each of you and over time you will emerge as shining stars in the respective areas which you choose to study.
“I know there is capacity for each tuition grant recipient to be a major success story. Don’t apply too much pressure to yourself, but it’s important that you share this conviction that you will be a force to be reckoned with in our global village in the not too distant future,” added Fitz-Henley as he recalled a phase in his teenage years when things were tough and he was briefly approached to engage in wrongdoing as a means of survival but resisted the temptation.
He cautioned the tuition grant recipients not to forget their integrity and principles of honesty and transparency, which he said he had no doubt was likely inculcated in them by their parents and guardians.
“But even if you feel that perhaps the guidance you wished for was not available, there’s that inner voice that tells us what’s wrong and what’s right. Remember that integrity matters and making the right choices at this stage of your development are among the keys to determining how your story will unfold in the not too distant future,” said Fitz-Henley.
The senator also commended Montague for his fund-raising efforts which made the tuition grants possible and for reportedly spending $8 million of his Constituency Development Fund allocation on education.
During his address, Montague outlined a raft of development plans for the constituency, including the completion of a Government Square in Gayle.