Three Fairfield International students get scholarships totalling US$26,000


Thursday, November 08, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James - Three Jamaican students attending the prestigious Fairfield International Academy (FIA), which opened in Reading, St James in September with 19 students, have been awarded scholarships totalling US$26,000.

The scholarships are to be renewed annually for the life of each student at the academy, providing they maintain an above 89 per cent average.

The recipients are:13-year-old Maya Hartman, who has been awarded the Fairfield International Academy's Fair Chance Scholarship valued at US$10,000; Girdhar Chuganey, and Leilani Eaton, both 12 years old, who have been awarded the Virtus Scholarship for US$8,000 each.

Both Girdhar and Leilani are past students of the Mount Alvernia Preparatory School, while Maya, who completed grade 7 at the Montego Bay High School for Girls before her transfer to FIA, is a past student of Montego Bay Preparatory School.

Maya attained a 98 per cent average in the 2017 GSAT and placed first in her class of 50 students with an average of 88.7 per cent, at the end of her first year in high school.

The grade 8 student at FIA told the Jamaica Observer West that although she misses her friends at her former high school, she likes the small size of her class at the new school.

“I do miss my friends there, but I am adjusting…. what I really, really love now is the small sizes of the classes and the one- and-one attention that we get at FIA, we really get the attention that we need, and the school-work isn't as tedious as it was at Montego Bay High,” said Maya, adding that her class now consists of seven students.

For Leilani, the size of her class is also significant.

“Because of the class-size, we get to know almost everybody in the school and we get more attention from the teachers,” said the grade 7 student, whose GSAT average was 98.8 per cent.

She added that she now participates in a raft of sporting activities, noting that at her former school, only one day per week, was set aside for such activities.

In expressing gratitude for the scholarship, Leilani said were it not for the award, she isn't sure if she would be at FIA.

“If I hadn't got the scholarship, I don't necessarily think I would be coming to this school because it's a hefty price, but I am really grateful for the scholarship, and I am putting my best foot forward,” she told the Observer West.

Girdhar, who attained a 99 per cent average in the 2018 GSAT, said apart from the huge difference in the size of the class at his former school and FIA, the teaching methods are different.

“The teaching methods here (FIA) are different, so I prefer it here, because the teachers have a better way of giving the information to you, so learning is fun here,” he argued.

Head of the academy, Shirley Davis, is hoping that more students will be awarded scholarships in the not too distant future.

“We do have students that have been given scholarships…those with high GSAT scores,” said Davis, an American who was previously head of the International School of Kingston.

“We are not what seems to be swirling around a little bit that we are an elite school. We are certainly not, we have students from every walk of life, and this is our mission and vision, and that will never change.”

At present, the tuition fee for students attending the school, which currently caters to grades six to nine, is roughly US$10,000 annually.

Davis said the recipients have to work very hard and maintain at least a 90 per cent average, to be a member of the student's council and be involved in community activities.

“They are under a programme, and they have to keep their grades,” she stressed, adding that the current crop of scholarship recipients are deserving of the awards.

“The vision of this international school is global citizens …no matter where you come from, no matter your adversity, no matter your socio economic background, this is a school for everyone,” Davis stressed.

She noted that more than 60 per cent of the students attending the school are Jamaicans, the same as the number of teachers, adding that the school has a current capacity for 40 students at its present Reading location.

Plans, she pointed out, are underway to build a permanent campus near Westgate, within another four years.

Subjects currently offered include mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, Spanish, art, Physical education, music, and technology.

Once the school builds out to grades 9 to 12 in coming years, it will be possible for children to graduate with either a United States high school diploma, an international baccalaureate, or both.

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