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Jul 25, 2017

43 to receive scholarships from S.S.B.

The sixteenth Social Security Board’s Scholarship Award Ceremony was held today at the George Price Center in Belmopan. A whopping forty-three students from across the country were the lucky recipients of fifty-nine thousand dollars allocated for the program. That added to those currently enrolled, this year, the S.S.B. will be investing one hundred and eighty-six thousand dollars for the scholarship plan.  The recipients were chosen based on academic achievement and financial need. News Five’s Duane Moody attended the ceremony and files this report.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Forty-three students received scholarships from the Social Security Board to pursue their secondary, tertiary and vocational education at an award ceremony inBelmopanthis morning. Over the past sixteen years that the program has been running, the S.S.B. has already invested three point two million dollars. Some seven hundred and forty-eight young people have been successfully awarded with scholarships and this new cohort joins the one hundred and nine currently enrolled in institutions across the country.

 

Dr. Colin Young, C.E.O., S.S.B.

Dr. Colin Young

“We are awarding forty-three recipients of this scholarship: thirty high schools, twelve sixth forms and one vocational scholarship.”

 

Duane Moody

“How is this made possible?”

 

Dr. Colin Young

“This is made possible through the contribution of employers and employees. The hundred and ten thousand plus people that contribute to the Social Security scheme….a portion of those contributions is earmarked for this goodwill program. This is the sixteen year that this program is running. Social Security has, beside a social insurance scheme, it has a mandate to also contribute to the socioeconomic development of Belize and one of the best ways to do that is through investments in young people through educational opportunities and scholarships.”

 

It is a competitive process, based primarily on financial need and academic merit of the students. The students applied at branches countrywide and then the scholarships are proportionally awarded based on population sizes in the various districts. Based on the criteria, the committee selected the forty-three recipients today.

SJC graduate Zaphan Neal says that he is good with his hands and will be pursuing a technical degree in architecture and civil engineering at the University ofBelize.

 

Zaphan Neal

Zaphan Neal, Scholarship Recipient

“Being a resident of the south side area, this is giving me an opportunity to change how people view boys especially that come from that area. I want to change that statistic of what south side men amount to. Most people view us as criminal, people that want to steal from you. But I just want to be successful and give back to the community.”

 

Meanwhile, Orange Walk resident Vyomini Perez is dead set on making her family proud   by becoming a lawyer and this scholarship affords her that opportunity.

 

Vyomini Perez, Scholarship Recipient

Vyomini Perez

“I did it because of my academics as well as because of my parents. Lately we’ve been going through some financial problems. I did it because I know that it would benefit me and them in the future.”

 

Reporter

“What are your plans of doing with this scholarship? What do you think of doing in the future?”

 

Vyomini Perez

“With this scholarship, I feel more confident in myself and I know I will do better than I did this year.”

 

Olivia McKenzie wants to become a chemist and today both her parents were humbled by their daughter being selected for the scholarship. Her father Lance McKenzie says that as a retiree, the family’s income could not afford to send both their daughters to high school.

 

Lance McKenzie, Parent

Lance McKenzie

“Olivia is an excellent student and we see this as an opportunity for her to continue her studies. It came at a really great time for us as parents because financially we have been going through some financial hard times. But today is a blessing and we really appreciate it and I know Olivia does and she’ll do very, very well.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

 

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