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Aug 3, 2022

Fifty-Five Students Receive Scholarships from S.S.B. to Further Studies

Over the last twenty-one years, the Social Security Board has awarded scholarships to over one thousand students across Belize. According to S.S.B. Director Marcelo Blake, this amounts to a pay out of over four million dollars. This year, S.S.B. is enabling an additional fifty-five students to achieve their academic goals. 2022 saw the highest number of applicants for vocational technical studies in any given year. This morning, in Belize City, S.S.B. hosted an award ceremony for its 2022 scholarship awardees. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Fifty-five students from across the country are being awarded scholarships by the Social Security Board. These are high school, associate degree and vocational technical students. Today, thirty-seven of those recipients gathered inside the House of Culture in Belize City for an official award ceremony.


Marcelo Blake

Marcelo Blake, Director, Social Security Board

“The program started in 2001 with the vision to provide opportunities to those wanting to develop themselves, but unable to do so due to financial constraints. S.S.B. has assisted over a thousand students since the inception of the program, with an estimated payout of over four million dollars. This year we received two hundred and sixty eight online applications from all over the country via our website on the scholarship portal.”


Each recipient was selected based on their financial need, and their ability to maintain grades above eighty percent. Driana Hyde, one of the awardees, is preparing to begin her studies at the Institute for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ITVET).


Driana Hyde

Driana Hyde, S.S.B. Scholarship Recipient

“I was out, cause I am person who love farm, so I was dealing with my chickens and I received the phone call from a person and she said congratulations. So, in my mind I was like, wait, hold up, congratulations? She was like, yes congratulations you were selected for the award. OMG, I jumped. I had like a dozen eggs, and I must say sorry to my mom cause I bruk her eggs, but I was so excited, nervous, I didn’t even know what to say, I went blank. I said, thank you so much. She said yes you could come in.  Ih help us very much. I will say my father in and out of jobs; my mother is a house wife. So, it is mostly on my brother, like I say he motivate me. He has his family too and he helps when he could, so it really helps we in a special way and I am very thankful for it,”


Mowava Garcia

Mowava Garcia, Corporate Relations Officer, Social Security Board

“So, those of you who are getting a high school and vocational scholarship, you will receive twelve hundred dollars per year, for the duration of the scholarship. What is going to happen is we are going to pay your school fees first. That is our primary concern, because we need to ensure your tuition is taken care of. If there is any difference from the twelve hundred then we will pay it to your parent or your guardian, so that they can purchase your school supplies, books, or any other material you may need for the duration of the scholarship.   We ask that you maintain a GPA of 2.75, that is equivalent to about eighty percent or a B as well, but again you work hard, that will be easy for you guys to do. Lean on one another and you can even lean on us, because now you are a part of the Social Security family.”


Each student will also be required to spend time doing community service. Driana Hyde says she aspires to become an electrical engineer. She says the twelve hundred dollars she will receive from S.S.B. annually will afford her the opportunity to pursue her dream, while breaking certain gender stereotypes in her field of choice.


Driana Hyde

“And people will think like, what a female? Yes, I want to take the challenge to be an electrician. I always wanted, and watch people and become motivated, and wanted to become one. It is not something I wanted from a child growing up, but as growing now I want to have certain things under my belt, and that is definitely one I want to have under my belt.   One motto I will always keep in my head that I wish other females could take up; you don’t need a man to do a man job. Once you put your head that you are going to do it, you can do it.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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