Although Kasi Abbott, a first form student of Knox College in Manchester, has known for weeks that she is one of 47 students to be awarded the JN Foundation Primary Exit profile (PEP) Scholarship for 2022, she remains just as elated, as if she had only received the news yesterday.

“I feel like my hard work in PEP paid off. All the studying and preparation that I did have been rewarded with this scholarship that I received,” she said. 

The 11 year-old was among the 47 accepting their awards at a celebratory ceremony on Sunday (October 2) organised by JN Foundation at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in St. Andrew to recognise the achievement of the youngsters who came from across the country.

Held under the theme, ‘Reignite the Greatness in You’, Claudine Allen, general manager of the JN Foundation, urged the pre-adolescents to strive for “greatness.”

“As you embark on your educational journey, which will also help to mould your character, I urge you, all 47 of you, our scholars, to believe in yourselves and your ‘greatness’ and strive for excellence, just like Nelson Mandela did,” she charged.

Parris Lyew-Ayee (left), chairman of the JN Foundation congratulates Kasi Abbott, scholarship recipient at the JN Foundation PEP scholarship awards on Sunday, October 2.

Parris Lyew-Ayee, chairman of the JN Foundation, who also addressed the recipients, said that since 1983, The Jamaica National Group has been supporting the educational pursuits of hundreds of young people at both the secondary and tertiary levels. “This year we received close to 400 applications for the Primary Exit Profile (PEP) Scholarships. Unfortunately, we were unable to meet the needs of all the applicants, however,

fortunately, this year, we are introducing 10 one-time offer grants through, JN Money Services Limited,” he revealed.

Mr Lyew-Ayee underscored that an educated population is important to nation-building and economic growth and, therefore, investing in education should be priority.

Referencing the development of Japan after World War II and the emergence of Taiwan, he demonstrated how prioritising education can transform the fortunes of a nation. 

“The Japanese people committed themselves to building a first-class education system. The result was decades of impressive economic growth, during which Japan became an economic powerhouse and the world’s third-largest economy,” he said.

“We can become a great nation if we focus on building an educated population, and that is why the JN Foundation, in its own way, takes seriously its contribution to ensuring that our nation’s children are not denied an education,” he said.

The JN Foundation chairman disclosed that the Foundation will be recalibrating its scholarship programme, to further strengthen its relationship with its scholars. This he said included rolling out a mentorship programme to create a space where the scholars can interact with The JN Group senior leadership team.

“We encourage our scholars and parents to look out for this and other exciting initiatives and events that will be specifically catered with you in mind. Some of the other activities will include career development, networking among JN scholars as peers and financial literacy sessions, through our very soon to be launched, JN Financial Academy,” he said.

Ruth Lawrence, youth empowerment specialist, entrepreneur and author was guest speaker at the function and encouraged the recipients to “dig” for success.  “Young people your vision is not too big to achieve if you set your mind to it. Get your vision board and set it up. Believe in yourself that you can do it,” she said.