[Kingston, Jamaica] – The premier fundraising event of the David “Wagga” Hunt (DWH) Scholarship Foundation was held on Sunday, January 31, 2021. The event which was streamed live on their YouTube channel with viewers from the Diaspora and locally tuning in.
The David “Wagga” Hunt Scholarship Foundation was established in 2009. The foundation provides scholarships to deserving students of Kingston College and Calabar High School. And, to honour the legacy of football coach, sports analyst and sports administrator extraordinaire, David “Wagga” Hunt. The decision to hold a virtual event was brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. It replaced the organization’s chief fundraising exercise, the annual Red Carpet Ball held each January in Washington, DC. And, the annual scholarship awards and Football Classic (both held in Jamaica).
The tone for the evening was set by Co-chairs, Christopher Hunt and Arnold McDonald. Their opening messages spoke of the big goals set by the organization in fundraising and outreach to fulfill the mandate of the Foundation.
Emcees for the evening were Leighton “Fyah” McKnight and Radio Broadcaster, Dervan Malcolm. They kept the evening fun and entertaining. And , they used their voices to encourage donations as the evening went on. “FYAH” pulled in big donations during the broadcast from friends and supporters. They were clearly motivated by the cause and display of excellence all evening.
Patrons who contributed (US$50 & J$3,000) to participate in the affair were treated to a spectacular evening with an eclectic and exciting program. The fundraiser was held under the Distinguished Patronage of Jamaica’s Ambassador to the USA, Her Excellency, Audrey P. Marks, and Principals; Messrs. Dave Myrie and Albert Corcho of Kingston College and Calabar High Schools, respectively.
Ambassador Marks commended the Scholarship Foundation for making a difference in the lives of the young men. She pointed to the “remarkable progress made over the years”. Marks highlighted the significant financial investment made for the 2020-2021 school year of J$4 million. The funds covered scholarships of J$2.1 million and but grants of J$1 million to each school for technological enhancements.
Principal of Calabar, Albert Corcho, was effusive in praise for the Foundation’s impact on the boys. Corcho says they “always do well academically”. And, he commended the Foundation for extending their assistance to the schools this year which ensured that more boys were reached.
Principal of Kingston College, Dave Myrie said, “being a Wagga Hunt scholar has made a big difference in the way the boys carry themselves”. “They’ve demonstrated even greater pride in scholarship and achievement once selected”.
The scholars were introduced by way of video messages which were interspersed throughout the program. [Each] spoke on why they work hard in school (and for some) what impact their life will have on the world. Naem McKenzie and Andrew Campbell (KC) and Ellado Coltas and Kito Campbell (Calabar), spoke in greater depth of the difference the scholarship made in their lives and the lives of all the recipients.
Miguel Morrison and Jevaughn Faulder, the first David “Wagga” Hunt scholarship recipients spoke on behalf of fellow alumni. Both entreated the current recipients to work hard. And, to make use of the opportunities the scholarship provides. They expressed their desire to give back to others having benefited from the kindness and benevolence of others. There are thirteen (13) alumni who are currently undertaking various modes of studies or have moved on to successful careers.
Parents of current and past recipients also gave their personal testimonials and expressed their support as did Georgette Hunt, widow of David Hunt and Mrs. Paulette Rhoden, patron of the organization.
Richard Pandohie, CEO of Seprod, a Calabar Old Boy and one of the honorees for 2021, sat down for an interview with Leighton “Fyah” McKnight, David “Wagga” Hunt Committee Member. He spoke of his pride in being an honoree and extolled the virtues of education, emphasizing his parents’ belief that education was a vital path to success. He challenged the young men of both schools to embrace the same mindset. His position backed by his personal and corporate philosophy that it is incumbent on those who have made it, to give back. Mr. Pandohie is also President of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA).
Professor Emeritus, Rainford Wilks of the Caribbean Institute for Health and Research and a KC Old Boy, sat down with Wayne Robinson, another David “Wagga” Hunt Committee Member. The conversation centered around the close-knit community he experienced at KC with mentors who cared for him and other boys and his rise from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of his profession. The message to boys with similar stories is, they too can rise to the top.
Kabaka Pyramid, Fab 5, Paul Blake and Pam Hall wowed the audience with scintillating performances. Christopher “Johnny” Daley had the audience in stitches with his comedy performance. Protoje and Stephen “Cat” Coore lent their voices with video messages supporting the program. All spoke passionately of the importance of donations to the program during their performance and encouraged their fans to do so. Each donated their time for a worthy cause. Penthouse Recording Studios graciously provided the space for the musical presentations.
A live auction for a four-day/three nights stay at the luxurious Half-Moon Hotel in Jamaica was quickly snapped up.
Messages of support were offered by sponsors, VMBS, Proven Wealth and The Gibson-McCook Relays. Additional support was also received from Spencer’s Financial and Stuart Foundation.
The technical services for the show were provided by Duane McDonald.
In speaking of the evening’s success, Co-chair Arnold McDonald said: “David Hunt’s mantra of ‘ We can be rivals but not enemies’, was very much on show at the just concluded staging of our inaugural virtual fundraiser event as the ‘family’ atmosphere was evident. The event was a resounding success, and on behalf of the Scholarship Committee, I offer sincere thanks to all who gave of themselves to the cause either by contribution to the production or donating so graciously. Most importantly, the organization is on its way to meeting its fundraising goal of US$50,000.
Our pledge to the young men of Kingston College and Calabar has been strengthened. And our resolve deepened as we move forward with your continued support.”
Scholarship recipients were presented with laptops for a total value of JA$500,000.00.
Visit their website for more information or to make a donation.
The virtual fundraiser may be viewed HERE