MONTEGO BAY, St James — Juleen Cribb and her two daughters Tionne and Tay-shaun Jones are all in school, and all too familiar with the bills that come with accessing higher education.
They were thrilled to be among 35 individuals awarded bursaries, part of Member of Parliament Homer Davis’ plans to spend $11.5 million on educational needs in his St James Southern Constituency this year.
Last Saturday, awards valued at $2.5 million were handed out during a ceremony at the Montego Bay Civic Centre.
Juleen, kept at home caring for her two younger children, was not at the event but her two daughters represented the family well.
Tay-shaun explained that the support their family has received was well needed.
“I’m very grateful for getting this help, as it takes the strain off my mother,” she said.
She explained that her mother is in her final year of a nursing programme at the University of Technology, studying to become a midwife. Tay-shaun is studying business administration at the Montego Bay Community College and Tionne is in her final year of a management information systems associate degree programme.
“I’m proud of my family for striving to finish our tertiary education; I’m grateful my family got the opportunity and is being assisted as well,” said Tionne.
This is the second time she has benefited from funds provided by the State.
First-time beneficiary Rovoni Scott was just as grateful for the support. A resident of Cambridge in St James, he is a pre-med student at the All American Institute of Medical Science in Black River, St Elizabeth.
“I’m truly honoured and grateful because my annual tuition fee for medical school is just shy of $3 million and I’m really grateful for any financial support because it can get burdensome on my parents,” he said.
Nickeisha White, a student of the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean where she is currently doing a Bachelor of Science degree in social work, said Davis has often been there for her in her time of need.
“I was selected for this programme by writing to my Member of Parliament due to the financial crisis that I have been facing since COVID. He has not one day turned me back,” she said.
One hundred and eight PEP students have also benefitted from Davis’ efforts in his constituency, as have 700 children who received $4 million in book vouchers as they returned to school in September.
Davis believes more can be done.
“Probably in another year or two I’ll be looking at probably reaching at least 100 [with] tertiary assistance,” he said.