By:Curtis Morton

Charlestown-Nevis- Wednesday January 11th 2017 was a significant and historic day and celebrated in grand style on the island of Nevis.

The day marked the 260th birthday of illustrious son of the soil, Alexander Hamilton.

On that day, the Nevis Historic and Conservation Society (NHCS), in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Development and more specifically, the Department of Community Development, hosted the annual Alexander Hamilton Scholarship fund awards ceremony and tea party.

The signature event is one of the main fund raising activities utilized to finance the scholarship fund and at the same time award four new recipients from the two main secondary schools on the island: Two from the Charlestown Secondary school and two from the Gingerland Secondary school.

The activity which was ably chaired by Education Officer, Mr. Shefton Liburd, was held at the grounds of the Alexander Hamilton museum and commenced with a stimulating prelude by Janice SPEECHLES Nisbett on pan and keyboards. The invocation was delivered by Rev. Othneil Daley and the national anthems of the United States of America and the federation of St.Kitts and Nevis were melodiously played by Janice Nisbett on pan, quickly followed by the happy birthday song.

After the welcome remarks by chair person, Mr. Shefton Liburd, who opined that EDUCATION is the main impetus for driving an economy, the report on the scholarship fund was comprehensively delivered by Community Development officer, Miss Tracey Parris.

She indicated that the scholarship fund was commenced in 1966 by the Trott family, to assist deserving secondary school students with uniforms, books, fees and other supplies.

She noted that the year 2016 commenced with 13 scholarship holders and four new ones were added in January of that year.  Two left the program in July, after successfully completing their overseas examinations and are now gainfully employed.

She noted however, that the reports for some of the recipients are not encouraging and some are neglecting the completion of their mandatory hours of voluntary service to the community.

She urged them to strive to improve in all areas, as the prestigious scholarship represents a man who was diligent in all of his endeavors and noted that they should seek to follow suit.

A dynamic rendition in calypso was delivered by Junior Calypso King of Nevis, King Sookie who mesmerized the audience with his rendition of ‘Educate Your Minds.’

Executive Director at the NHCS, Miss Nicole Liburd then delivered brief remarks which were preceded by a live rendition of the birthday song by one of the officials at a ceremony in New York honouring, Alexander Hamilton. Those present also joined in with the rendition of the birthday song.

Miss Liburd referred to the story of Hamilton as a ‘simple’ one: The story of a great man who rose to prominence from humble beginnings and urged the scholarship holders to strive for excellence, despite whatever challenges they may face.

She noted that as part of the celebrations of the occasion in the States of America, the St.Kitts-Nevis representative delegation raised the federation’s flag at the bowling green in Manhattan.

Miss Liburd once again reiterated some of the outstanding achievements of the man who was instrumental in the construction of the constitution of America and asked the scholarship holders to be diligent in their studies and seek to ensure that their voluntary requirements are completed.

This was followed by an outstanding presentation in dance by students at the Maude Cross Preparatory School, entitled ‘Fishermen dance.’

Excerpts from a very moving letter written by past scholarship holder, Kyla Seabrookes, was read by Tracey Parris, during which the young student who has now relocated overseas, spoke to the benefits of the scholarship fund and noted that Alexander Hamilton himself benefited from a scholarship, early in his life. She urged the current scholarship holders to make the most of the opportunities provided to them. Her proud mom, Renita Seabrookes was seated in the audience.

This year’s function had not one, but two featured speakers in the persons of the youthful Aneka Ferguson who spoke of the many tribulations she has passed through in her young life and the many discouragements; criticisms and the many nay- sayers she has had to deal with. One traumatic experience, was the death of her mother, when she was only twelve years old. She noted that through all the adversity, she purposed in her heart to work hard to achieve and gave thanks to her Dad, sister other family members, teachers and most importantly God, for helping her to sit 11 subjects at the CSEC level and pass them with all distinctions.

She encouraged the scholarship holders to avoid the negatives in the lives and strive for excellence, through God.

The equally youthful Orian Stapleton, who recently excelled at his CAPE examinations and is now a Teacher, spoke to his faith in God and how trust in God has helped him to excel.

He asked the scholarship recipients to study hard, find time for a favourite sport, book or movie, but let their educational focus take top priority, while still finding time to play and enjoy life.

He asked them to look at the sacrifices made by world famous Doctor, Ben Carson’s mother Sonya, who despite being illiterate, made sacrifices to raise her children and impress on them the value of education. Ben became an outstanding doctor and his brother an outstanding engineer.

He urged the scholarship holders to make the best of the opportunity with which they have been provided so that they too can make significant contributions to humanity.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development, Mr. Keith Glasgow, then presented the new scholarship holders with their awards.

The 2017 recipients are: Abigail Swanston and Levonski Jeffers of the Charlestown Secondary School and Shelliqua Carmichael and Hallie Yankey of the Gingerland Secondary School.

Missing on the day was Hallie Yankey.

The vote of thanks was delivered by Shadae Stanley, a current scholarship holder.

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