For the parents who still have doubts as to whether or not to allow their children to engage in sporting activities of their choice and insisting that they concentrate on their academics alone, they may well have to rethink that strategy.
On Tuesday 27th August, the youthful Zaykeese Smith of Craddock Road stood in the presence of Minister of Sports on Nevis, Hon. Eric Evelyn, alongside his beaming mother. On that day, in a brief ceremony, he was being congratulated for landing a full scholarship, to pursue his dream of becoming an Electrical Engineer.
Director of Sports, Jamir Claxton explained that Zaykeese represented the St. Kitts –Nevis under 20 Football team, in a tournament played in the USA and during that tournament, due to his excellent performance, he was spotted by scouts, who were thoroughly impressed with him. There was one particular match versus the Canadian team when Zaykeese was the main contributor to the success of the SKN team and that certainly forced the radar to be pointed in his direction.
Among others who were interested, was Coach Josh MicReynolds of the LSU University in Louisiana, who decided that he must have this particular youngster at his prestigious institution and so the negotiations started.
Claxton noted that the Youth and Sports Department and by extension the Ministry of Sports, was instrumental in getting Smith to the required practice sessions in St. Kitts and the NIA has also contributed to the scholarship offer.
The SKNFA was also heartily congratulated for its contribution in airfare costs and arrangements for Smith to acquire his student visa in Barbados and also for the airfare cost to the USA, as he prepares to go off to commence his course of study.
Minister Evelyn congratulated Smith for his outstanding exploits at the game of Football and for also keeping up with his academics. He beseeched him to stay focused and to represent well as a sports ambassador, making his parents, his local team, Nevis and the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis proud. He also asked him not to get carried away with the many distractions on offer in the USA but to remember that he was there for one purpose and one purpose only and that is to acquire his degree and represent his university team well.
Minister Evelyn promised him that he will be following his progress closely. He also congratulated his mother for the way she has looked out for her son and wished Smith every success in his endeavours.
Smith for his part, thanked everyone who has helped him thus far and quoted Michael Jordan by saying that one must ‘play each game as if it was the first one because you do not know who is watching.’
His mom, Ingrid Tyson also gave words of thanks to all those who have been instrumental in helping her son to get to this stage and stated that he has promised her that he will do her proud and she expects nothing less.