by Derrick Scott
WASHINGTON, DC – The David Wagga Hunt Scholarship Foundation has been recognized by the Jamaica’s Ambassador in Washington Her Excellency Audrey Marks for its consistent contribution to nurturing young men from two of the island’s premier institution.
Delivering the keynote address at the David Wagga Hunt Scholarship gala in Washington, DC, on Saturday night, Ambassador Marks said “the David “Wagga” Hunt Initiative is one of the Diaspora entities for which I have tremendous admiration.”
“From a small seed that was planted over a decade ago, I have watched it grow into a small tree which has borne much fruit; having started with two (2) boys, 30 boys are currently beneficiaries of scholarships to the tune of $12 million,” the Ambassador said.
“I must commend you, Mr. Hunt and the rest of your team for your vision, tenacity and sense of purpose and determination which have driven your efforts over the years, to provide well-needed support to students at Calabar High and Kingston College, two of the most prominent high schools in Kingston, Jamaica,” she declared.
Ambassador Marks told the large audience of Jamaicans and friends of the island that, “the Government of Jamaica has made significant strides in stabilising our economy, having recorded several consecutive quarters of growth, reduced the debt-to-GDP ratio to below 100% and reduced unemployment to approximately 7%, the lowest in the last decade. We are cognisant of the fact that the journey to achieve economic growth and job creation is a long and arduous one, to which the Government remains fully committed.”
She said, “one of the keys to this end is having a highly educated and well-trained workforce and by extension, society. We are cognizant of the fact that if we are to reduce crime and violence and address some of the myriad intractable challenges which have plagued the Jamaican society, we must invest heavily in education….recognising that obtaining quality education is key to realizing sustainable development.”
She commended the David “Wagga” Hunt Initiative and other members of the Diaspora, for the unwavering support to the island’s education sector, and said she was honoured to receive the 2019 “Wagga Hunt” Award on behalf of the Embassy of Jamaica.
“I thank the Committee for bestowing this honour on us. This is a signal of the great partnership that has been forged between the David “Wagga” Hunt Initiative and myself, as well as my team at the Embassy,’ she concluded.
The Jamaican embassy was recognized for its patronage of the fund-raising gala since its inception eight years ago. Also awarded was the Washington DC, Based National Education Association which hosted the event.
The late David “Wagga” Hunt, was a distinguished Kingston College past student and co-founder of Meadhaven United Football Club.
Unrivaled in his passion for youth and sports, Hunt led Calabar to both the Manning Cup and Oliver Shield titles in 2005 before his untimely passing in October 2007 from a heart attack.
He was also a former General Secretary of the Kingston & St. Andrew Football Association (KSAFA), former General Secretary of the Minor League Football Association, one of Jamaica’s most notable Track and Field Analysts, former Jamaica National Under-17 Football coach, and KC, Calabar High School, and Meadowbrook High School Manning Cup coach.
Chairman of the David ‘Wagga’ Hunt Scholarship Committee, Christopher Hunt, explained the goal: to continue offering scholarships to deserving students at the beneficiary schools. The scholarship is in its ninth year and the number of awards has been increased in recent years.
The recipients are chosen from nominees received from the schools’ Grade 7 students who display commendable academic performance and attitude, are involved in extra-curricular activities, and are deemed to be in need of financial assistance.
The scholarship period covers the students from Grade 8 to Grade 13, at a cost of approximately US$5,000 (J$600,000) per student and covers tuition, books, lunch and other related school expenses.