June 30th, 2014 would go down in the annals of history of the Tabernacle Primary School in St.Kitts, now renamed the Edgar T. Morris Primary School, as certainly an unforgettable day for the school. It was the day, that former student and now Caricom Youth Ambassador for the Federation of St.Kitts and Nevis, Ms. Sonia Boddie returned to her Alma Mater, where she received her academic foundation, and launched the Sonia Boddie Promising Youth Leader Scholarship.
Ms.Boddie noted that this scholarship was her brainchild and was solely financed by her, and it was born out of a desire to give back to the young people of her community and country by extension, as a means of empowering them to continue striving for academic excellence. She highlighted she came from humble beginnings, being raised by her grandmother in the rural village of Tabernacle, but she was able to significantly advance herself educationally, thanks to the many scholarships she received from various governments and organizations.
The scholarship was launched in a small, but high profile ceremony, attended by Parliamentary Representative for the area of Tabernacle, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, 2nd Secretary in the Embassy of the Republic of China on Taiwan, Ms. Vera Lai, British Honorary Consul, Mrs. Sarah Percival, Education Officer, Mr. Stanley Knight, Senior Youth Officer, Ms. Chereca Weaver, Corporate Communications and Marketing Manager of Lime St.Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Kevin Edwards, the headteacher Ms.Kathuel Browne and staff of the Edgar T. Morris Primary School, along with scholarship recipients and their parents and Ms.Boddie’s three godmothers Mary Gilbert, Venelma Hanley and Pearline Wilson –Nisbett , who all came out to show their support to this new venture.
In her opening remarks, Scholarship Director, Ms.Boddie posited, “It is often said to whom much is given, much is expected, but what I have said and what I will continue to say is, “I am happy when I receive, but I am even happier when I can give back.”
Ms. Sonia Boddie lauded and thanked the Lime St.Kitts and Nevis formerly known as Cable and Wireless, for providing her with all of her academic supplies for seven years, while she attended the Cayon High School and the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC). She also praised the Taiwanese Embassy for providing her with a monetary reward while attending the CFB College, which she put towards, paying her transportation from Tabernacle to Basseterre daily to attend classes, as a school bus was no longer provided at that level. She also expressed how immensely grateful she was to the Government of Mexico for awarding her a scholarship to complete her Bachelors in International Relations with honors in Mexico, and the British Government for awarding her the British Chevening Scholarship, which granted her the opportunity to complete a Masters in Publics Administration with Merit in England. She also expressed thanks to the Organization of American States for granting her a Professional Development Scholarship to undertake a course in International Law in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She highlighted that it is because these organizations and government would have seen the promise in her as a young student, and injected their funds in her education, why she is now able to do the same.
She remarked, “I know many of you are probably wondering why I named the scholarship Sonia Boddie Promising Youth Leader Scholarship, but it is because many organizations and governments would have seen a promise in me, I have come to recognize that we have a lot of promises right here in this school, just waiting to explode.” She added, “I know the roll of the school is small, but as we say in Kittitian parlance, “we small but we talawah”, and Tabernacle has what it takes to continue producing outstanding young leaders.”
Ms.Boddie also had sound words of admonition for the students and parents, she remarked, “Do not expect “Microwave Success”, success does not come overnight. You must be prepared to work hard. As your school motto says, “There is no success without hard work”, and you must be prepared to work hard, stay up long nights and make the sacrifices to achieve success.” She further added, “There are many scholarships now available to students, much more than when I was growing up, but you must be prepared to write essays and participate in interviews to get them. Therefore, parents I encourage you to help and motivate your children to improve their public speaking and writing skills.”
The feature address was delivered by Kevin Edward, Corporate Communications and Marketing Manager for Lime, who delivered remarks on behalf of his company’s manager David Lake. In his remarks he noted, “I stand here today beaming with pride and satisfaction that our contribution has come to bear fruits, through the launching of a new scholarship by one of our very own past scholarship recipients. Through this scholarship, Ms.Boddie will be bringing relief to parents, while ensuring that students are adequately equipped with the necessary school supplies… My company has continued to be amazed by how Ms. Boddie has blossomed into a role model for the youth of the Federation and the Caribbean… I want to congratulate all of you successful scholarship recipients and encourage you to let this scholarship, be a reminder that you must and should always put your best foot forward, especially in your school work and aim for the stars.”
Other highlights of the brief ceremony were the reading of the scholarship application essays by the scholarship recipients and the presentation of scholarship certificates. The scholarships were awarded to Grade Six students Denihlson Browne and Azania Alexander, who would be shortly transitioning to Secondary School. The successful awardees would have the privilege of spending one day with Ms. Boddie, shopping for school supplies valued at five hundred Eastern Caribbean Dollars each.
The ceremony ended with a vote of thanks delivered by a parent of one of the awardees Mrs. Soretta Browne, who thanked Ms.Boddie for sowing this seed and thanked all those who would have sown seeds in Ms.Boddie which are now bearing branches.