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Aug 7, 2014

2014 UB Scholarships Awarded to Over Eighty Students

The University of Belize issued its annual scholarships for qualifying students today during a pre-semester ceremony at its main campus in Belmopan.  Dozens of students gathered at the auditorium where they signed contracts for the upcoming academic year, a majority of them received athletic scholarships for football, volleyball and cycling.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

With the start of a new academic year just around the corner, students of the University of Belize, who qualify for various scholarships, were this morning awarded individual grants during a ceremony at the Jaguar Auditorium in Belmopan.

 

William Neal, Dean of Student Affairs

William Neal

“We have under the Student Athletics Scholarships, we have sixty-two students.  We have thirteen under the Barton Scholarship and then for the alumni and the Diane Sylvester Scholarship we have made one award for each of them.  So it comes up to about eighty plus students that we have in total getting scholarships. So what we’ve decided to do, especially with the student athletes is two-point-five to two-point-seven four they can then qualify just for tuition and fees.  If they two-point-seven-five to three-point-zero then they can get either a food allowance or housing and if they get above three-point-zero then they can get the full scholarship because we think that if you work hard then you can be rewarded.”

 

While preparations for the upcoming semester are well underway, financial assistance for those who are eligible will go a long way, taking into account the cost of tertiary education.

 

Francis Mejia

Francis Mejia, Scholarship Recipient

“It’s very good for me because it opens a lot of doors for me and, you know, in the job field it is very essential for you to have a degree and after I complete my associates I am planning to do my bachelors.  And in my job I get an increment for getting a degree in this field and it also helps me to enhance the knowledge of my peers that work with me also.  So it’s very good for me.”

 

Among the range of opportunities offered is the Barton Scholarship, an annual subsidy funded by an English couple who resided in Belize briefly.  William Neal is Dean of Student Affairs.

 

William Neal

“Through Student Affairs we manage quite a number of scholarships.  We have first our Student Athletic Scholarships and those are given to students based on their athletic ability, but we also have minimums set in terms of academic achievement.  We also have a Diane Sylvester Scholarship which is specifically for students who have graduated from the Anglican Cathedral College.  We then have a UB Alumni Association Scholarship and we also have the Barton Scholarship which is a co-managed scholarship program funded by Nick and Debbie Barton who are two British citizens who actually lived for six months in Belize and they give us on an annual basis about twenty thousand Belize dollars to fund students at the University of Belize.”

 

Before an audience of peers, parents and lecturers, students initialed separate contracts binding them to specific academic requirements.  For those on athletic scholarships, a detailed workout plan has been established to keep them in shape.

 

William Neal

“We’ve put in a very stringent system simply because if we’re going to have our students matriculate especially to the United States they have to understand that there is a program that you have to participate in.  You don’t get up when you want and go exercise and that’s a part of what you have to do.  So we’re trying to build in the discipline necessary for them to do well whether it’s putting in gym time, structured gym time; whether it’s study periods, whether it’s tutorials, whatever they need we make sure that it is outlined clearly for them the responsibility is theirs.”

 

Among those receiving an athletic scholarship is Patricia Chavarria.  She is one of very few female cyclists enrolled at UB.  Her academic pursuit will also see her in rare company when she settles into her profession.

 

Patricia Chavarria, Scholarship Recipient

Patricia Chavarria

“Getting the scholarship that, you know, the sport I’m more passionate about, it’s really good because then you can really balance the sport and the schooling together. It’s really a good like, you know, I have siblings who are going to school and it’s really a good burden off our backs.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“What are you majoring in?”

 

Patricia Chavarria

“Building and Civil Engineering at the Belize campus.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“And how has that [been]?  How do you find that particular field of study being one of the few women who I‘d want to say who is into that particular discipline?”

 

Patricia Chavarria

“Well it’s really interesting.  It’s hard at times but if you really like it; it should be nice.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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