Opening Remarks Delivered by
Ms. Eutrice Carrington – Executive Director
UTC SEA Scholarship Programme Award Ceremony
July 27, 2012
- Ms. Amoy Chang Fong, Chairman of the Board of the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation
- The Honourable Dr. Tim Gopeesingh, Minister of Education
- Officials from the Ministry of Education
- Members of the Board and Management of the Unit Trust Corporation
- Recipients and the Families of the 2012 UTC SEA Scholarship Programme
- Members of the Media
- Ladies and Gentlemen
On behalf of the Board, Management and staff of the Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation, it is my pleasure to make a few opening remarks this morning at the award ceremony for the recipients of the UTC SEA Scholarship Programme. We are extremely honoured that the Minister of Education the Hon. Dr. Tim Gopeesingh is able to join with the UTC on this auspicious occasion as we recognized the 2012 Scholarship awardee.
Permit me at this stage to briefly highlight the main features of this unique SEA Scholarship Programme which the Board, Management and staff at the UTC administer as part of our Corporate social responsibility:
- The Programme is geared towards assisting students who have demonstrated the potential for academic excellence but are financially challenged
- Qualification for the scholarship is based on nomination by the principal of the relevant primary school of SEA students whose families either receive public assistance from the state or earn under $4,000 per month.
- The final selection of awardees is based on actual SEA scores.
- The value of the scholarship at present is $1,200 per year and this grant is administered through the provision of school books and other school supplies. Over the seven years of secondary schooling each student is provided with financial support in the amount of $8,400.00.
- In 2008, the Scholarship Programme was expanded to tertiary level education and the value of the scholarship was set at $2,000.00 per annum.
Additionally, in 2008 a psychological counselling component entitled Strategies 4 Success was added to the Programme. The psychological counselling is generally conducted during the week of the award ceremony. It is geared towards preparing participants to attain the maximum benefit from their secondary and tertiary level education and to contribute in part to the students developing into productive and creative citizens of the Republic.
In keeping with our commitment to continuous improvements of the SEA scholarship programme, this year we extended the Strategies 4 Success component to include a workshop for parents. This aspect of the programme is focused on providing the parents with the necessary tools to successfully support their children throughout their Secondary and Tertiary level schooling.
The support areas focused on during the last four (4) days of this week included:
- How to project yourself in a self confident manner
- Practical lessons in etiquette
- The benefits of budgeting, savings and investments
In the seventeen years since the launch of the UTC SEA Scholarship Programme, ninety-two students, inclusive of the ten recipients for 2012, have benefitted. Currently, fifty-two students are the beneficiaries of this programme.
This morning I want to speak in a very special way to the 2012 UTC SEA scholarship awardees. Your parents, relatives, teachers, religious leaders and other authority figures in your community have diligently prepared you for the challenging world of secondary school. They seek your ultimate success in the game of life and aim to provide you with the knowledge to achieve that success. I encourage you to continue to rely on them as you begin this new phase in your life.
This adolescent phase is often a challenging period for the individual. No longer a child but not yet an adult, you will often experience confusing and often contradictory feelings about yourself, others and even life in general. From time to time, you may even doubt that you are truly understood, appreciated or loved by those in authority over you including your parents.
On such occasions, you may feel that only your schoolmates or peers understand you, support you or care about you and no one else. Consequently, you may see them as the only people whose guidance is valuable. I want to take this opportunity to let you know that nothing could be further from the truth.
The truth is that your peers even when they mean well are really in no better place to provide guidance than those in authority over you. After all, they are in the same boat as you, although some may put on a brave face to gloss over their fears and insecurities.
Many times, they may advise you to take certain decisions not because they know better but because they are looking for “comfort in numbers”. Often when the decisions backfire, they do not even have the decency to acknowledge that they misled you. Be warned that “friends may carry you but they don’t bring you back.”
At the end of the day, it is the authority figures in your life that would end up having to “bring you back” so why not cooperate with them in the first place.
Your parents in particular are the ones whom you should make your best friends, not your schoolmates. You need to know that you can talk to them about anything. They will understand. After all, they have been there before and so are best able to provide the guidance. Yes, they may not be on “Facebook” and “Youtube” but they have the experience to guide you in making the right choices, either because they made those right choices themselves or because they know the consequences of making the wrong choices.
At the end of the day, they want you to succeed and really do have your best interest at heart. Even when you are confused or have made a bad choice, talk to them first not last.
Even if they might be angry or disappointed with you at first, it will not last. Know that they will restore you and support you through thick and thin.
So, as that first day of secondary school approaches, be excited, be thrilled and be happy. After all, school days can still be happy days. More importantly, make the right choices so that the future can be brighter.
I thank you.