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July 29th, 2016

Executive Director’s Remarks at the 20th Anniversary of the SEA Scholarship Awards


Address delivered by Mr. Ian Chinapoo – Executive Director UTC’s SEA Scholarship Award Ceremony July 28, 2016

  • Elma Joyeau Campbell, School Supervisor III, Port of Spain and Environs Education District
  • UTC Chairman Mr. Krishna Boodhai
  • Dionne Guischard, Psychologist, Families in Action
  • Members of the Management Team of the Unit Trust Corporation
  • UTC Scholars
  • Parents, grandparents and relatives
  • Members of the Media
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me say it is indeed an honourto celebrate with you the 20thanniversary of the Unit Trust Corporation’s SEA Scholarship Awards. What an accomplishment! If it feels like we are blowing our own trumpet, well we are.

I welcome you all to an event that speaks volumes of the continuing positive impact of the Unit Trust on the educational landscape – and most importantly the impact on our youths, youths who one day will be charged with responsibility as adults.

We feel a sense of exhilaration and pride having witnessed their progression from SEA scholar to excelling at Secondary School, completing their tertiary educationand going on to start their chosen careers. As their Partners for Life, we stood by them, supported, encouraged, and motivated them. We had a profound belief that our scholars were special and gifted.It is throughdetermination and staying focused that they have turned their dreams into reality.

Our SEA Scholarship Programme was established in 1996 to help youthsachieve their academic potential in the face of financial challenges. That year we started off with 2 students, today 165 have benefitted from the programme. It was a chance to make an impact on the lives of young people and provide a way out for those facing difficult circumstances.

While not an exhaustive list, let me share with you the names of some of our SEA scholars:

  • Rynessa Cutting, Open National Scholarship, Languages, now a broadcast journalist at CCN TV6,
  • Jhonique De Gannes, Open National Scholarship, Art & Design – MET Film School, London,
  • Britney Rochard, Additional National Scholarship, Geography – Mona Jamaica,
  • Bryan Jordan, First Prize Winner, Individual Scholarship and who is about to undergo training for a Pilot’s Licence at Antigua Flight Training Centre,
  • Jharique Steuart, Football Scholarship, Haman Jagroo, Civil Engineer…these are just some of the names of exceptional students who overcame the odds.

To the new recipients with us here today, you must feel an immense measure of pride at having gone through the rigour of the SEA examination, from the day you received your results and even now you would feel that sense of accomplishment and self-worth.  It will be a moment that you will cherish for a lifetime.You will feel it even more when you put on that uniform, to your new school and why not? You would have earned it.

For 2016, our SEA theme is “Together We Aspire, Together We Achieve,”and as the Chairman would have pointed out it isa recognition and tribute to our nation’s motto. You are a product of this aspirational motto. Your success would have been the result of the combined efforts of your teachers, parents, guardians and peers. Together they helped you achieve your goals.

As we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of SEA, twenty (20) new students will each receive vouchers to purchase books and relevant school supplies to the value of $1,500 per student, per year, for a seven year period.  This extends to tertiary level education students who will receive $2,500 per year for books and supplies.This year, all students will receive a tablet to aid them with their research projects, where they do not have internet access with the use of Wi-Fi.Our support this year is valued at approximately $210,000.

To our scholars, the discipline and focus does not end with SEA, you have to continue setting your priorities and applying yourself to your studies.You will be doing new subjects in the academic and non-academic realms and you will encounter and make friends with people from all walks of life, you will meet guidance counsellors, spiritual mentors, Teachers – all there to provide support.

As I end my presentation, I want to offer some advice to you:

  • Change – you need to be able to adapt to it.
  • Use every opportunity to add value – giving your best effort at all times will reap rewards, even if you don’t see it right away.
  • Be positive – because what you throw out into the world is what you will get back.
  • Stay curious. There is a whole world out there waiting for you.
  • Stay focused and determined to overcome any challenges that come your way, and believe me, you will encounter many hurdles throughout your journey.
  • Remember that positive relationships add value to your learning and will help steer you in the right direction, negative ones will derail you and could lead you down a path of self-destruction.

This is a new and exciting chapter of your lives, so I urge you to embrace it.  Congratulations on a job well done and all success for your future!