January 15, 2007
Four students from Nevis received scholarships from the Alexander Hamilton Scholarship Fund on Friday January 11, 2007, at a fund raising tea party in the courtyard of the historic Alexander Hamilton Museum.
The students Ms. Iyana Dore and Ms. Shienlka Maynard from the Gingerland Secondary School and Master Keithroy Merchant and Ms. Orecia Parris from the Charlestown Secondary School received their scholarship cheques to cover the 2007/2008 school year from Deputy Premier and Minister for the Department of Community Development which administers the scholarships.
The Minister told the students that funds from the scholarship programme should in many respects uphold the legacy of Alexander Hamilton and by people worldwide a legacy of hard work, discipline and deep individual study.
He said education was the means by which the Nevis Island Administration equipped today’s generation for the many possibilities of tomorrow and the scholarship fund required the recipients to be a cut above the rest and to aim to be the best in school.
Mr. Daniel called on the students to make excellence their watchword and that he would hold the recipients responsible for proper utilisation of the scholarship which would inspire the private donors to continue to contribute to the scholarship fund. He also had a word of advice for the parents.
“I am to expect and to see next year that you do even better than you do this year. To the parents I say to you that much of their success depends on you. I want you to insist that the students make good on their educational opportunities because if they don’t you may have to be supporting them way past their 18th birthday.
“Our constriction [St. Kitts and Nevis] only requires you to look after them until they are age 18 [but] the brutal truth is that many of our parents are still supporting their children past 18 not to go to college but to do other things and that’s because we didn’t do it early,” he said.
Mr. Daniel said the basic criteria for the scholarship fund required the student to show some academic ability to perform at a certain level and the selection committee had to be convinced that the student would perform better with the assistance from the Fund.
During the presentation, Mr. Daniel was presented with two personal cheques for the Fund in the amount of EC$5,000 from President of the NHCS Ms. Marcia Myers on behalf of members of the Society.
The annual Alexander Hamilton Scholarship Fund began 42 years ago by the Trott family who lived next to the restored Alexander Hamilton house. The fund was started to assist students from low income families in the purchasing of books, payment of fees and assistance throughout the secondary school tenure.
Halstead “Sooty” Byron executive member of the Nevis Historical Conservation Society (NHCS) who served as chairman for the presentation ceremony, said that the fund raising tea party had hit as snag in 1999 but was revived in 2007, when Hon. Hensley Daniel became the Minister responsible for Social Development in Nevis.
Notwithstanding, he said though the fund raising tea party was held annually to commemorate the birthday of Alexander Hamilton, the monies raised were insufficient to maintain the scholarships to students and the fund was heavily dependent on private donations.
“The funds from this event are not enough for the scholarships that we are awarding the students but we will continue to award students as they come into high school over the next several years. In a next five years or so we would have some 20 students receiving scholarships annually since these scholarships assist the students right through the high school period and therefore we depend a lot on donations to the fund.
“We receive donations throughout the year so we want to ask you present here today and the public to give generously to this very worthy cause. There are many families with children who are doing very, very well in school but of course not all families are able to give as much as they would want to their students and therefore the proceeds from the tea are going to the fund. The fund is administered by the Community Development Department,” he said.
Following the presentation ceremony, the Alexander Hamilton exhibit entitled “Alexandra Hamilton: The Man who Made Modern America” was officially launched. The ceremonial ribbon was cut jointly by Deputy Premier of Nevis Hon. Hensley Daniel and United Sates Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean Her Excellency Mrs. Mary Ourisman.