For only the third time in its history, the Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation (BPSSYF) will award each of the 102 nominees a $1,000 scholarship, so all students gunning for the coveted top prize will walk away with “something” – but only one will earn the title of 26th Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year (BPSSY) and walk away with the $7,000 scholarship.
This year, 102 students will share $205,000 in scholarship money which Ricardo P. Deveaux, BBSSYF president, said was only able to happen because corporate Bahamas stepped up and donated; along with $250,000 in scholarship and prizes.
“They [corporate Bahamas] were willing to recognize students who worked hard in this pandemic,” said Deveaux.
The first runner-up receives $6,500 in scholarship money; two students will earn $6,000 scholarships; another two will earn $5,000 in scholarship.
Seven students receive $3,500 each; 11 students $3,000 each and five students $2,500 in scholarship money.
Sixteen students will receive $2,000 scholarships; 19 students will get $1,500 each and 38 students will receive $1,000.
In addition, the top 16 students will receive a laptop; and four students will receive a tablet.
Each child will receive a trophy; the top 10 students receive a $100 voucher for school shoes from The Shoe Village; top 30 students will receive a $100 school supplies voucher from Scotiabank; and the winner will receive a $100 uniform voucher from Carey’s Fabric and Uniform Store.
The in-person award ceremony for nominees and their parents is scheduled for Saturday, June 11 at the Church of God Auditorium, Joe Farrington Road.
Deveaux described this year’s cohort of nominees as “resilient” and he said among the nominees are children who are doing extraordinary things.
“We have quite a number of students who have established organizations and are helping to feed the less fortunate. During the pandemic, many of these students were unable to participate in their regular programs, and created opportunities to serve. They knew there was a need in a community, and saw that they can assist in fulfilling that need. They assisted with providing food; one student baked cupcakes as a part of assisting her community; and we had another student, who attends a private school, who gave donations to a public school,” said Deveaux.
“The students who are now nominated for student of the year would have been, at the onset of the pandemic, in grade three, and spent grades four and five in a total virtual environment, and now in sixth grade and having started the year for most of them in a hybrid format.”
This year’s cohort of nominees is comprised of 71 females and 31 males.
New Providence has 50 nominees; Grand Bahama and the Family Islands have 52 with 14 from Grand Bahama, 11 each from Abaco and Eleuthera, eight from Andros, two each from Long Island and Cat Island, and one each from the Berry Islands, Bimini, Exuma and Inagua.
Of the nominees, 64 are in the public school sector with 38 in the private school sector.
Out of the 102 nominees, 54 have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.7 and above; 77 out of the 102 have a GPA of 3.5 and above.
The prestigious competition recognizes talented sixth-grade students around The Bahamas for their high scholastic and extracurricular achievements. Each school is allowed to nominate one student.
The ultimate winner is expected to be a well-rounded, standout student, and doesn’t necessarily have to be the smartest student with the 4.00 GPA.
Judging criteria for nominees include contribution to school life, academic achievement, extracurricular achievement, community involvement, and overall presentation of their submitted portfolio.
“Academic achievement alone does not guarantee placement in the awards program,” said Deveaux.
In selecting the ultimate winner, the judging panel making the decision takes an all-encompassing approach to candidates – scrutinizing everything from the child’s academics, to leadership and community involvement from as far back as third grade. The award is not meted out necessarily on what the nominee might have started doing in their sixth-grade year and year of their nomination.
Deveaux previously told The Nassau Guardian that the judges are looking for a child who has been consistent, and who has been doing a service over time, and not just something they decided to do their last year in primary school or to receive a nomination. The ultimate winner’s portfolio reflects a child who was engaged in their project/platform form from as early as third or fourth grade.
The awards program was established in 1997. Since its inception, the Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation has presented approximately $2 million in scholarship and prizes, and recognized over 2,800 of the best and brightest primary school students.