45 Ministry of Education Public School Scholarship recipients receive 4.00 GPAs in first semester
Shantinique Miller, a sophomore at Central State University, says she is tired of struggling, and her hunger for success came from her circumstances and seeing others in a similar predicament.
“Success is my way out, and I want it as bad as I want to breathe. I will get it by any means necessary, and I will not give up until my work speaks for me,” said Miller, who is studying chemistry.
Miller is one of 45 Public School Scholars to attain a 4.00 grade point average (GPA) in their first semester.
There are currently 326 students in the Public School Scholars Program (PSSP) program.
Every semester, students of PSSP are required to submit an official transcript as part of the criteria to maintain the government-granted scholarship.
Monique Hinsey, program developer and coordinator, said the 45 students marked the highest number of first semester 4.00 GPA students. She said close to 80 percent of them are first generation college students — a demographic the PSSP program has been specifically designed to target.
“First-generation college students are special in that their journey to college oftentimes means more than individual success,” said Hinsey. “It has the ability to transform families and the communities that surround them.”
Miller likened maintaining a 4.00 GPA to the movie “Bird Box”.
“Each semester I am blindfolded and tempted by the outside world, but it’s up to me to block out the impact of [the] outside world, keep my blindfold on and move forward to the land I only hoped and dreamed of. To walk a journey like this, blindfolded, is to have faith that God will carry me when my feet can no longer carry themselves.”
She said with so many people rooting for her, she does not want to let them down.
“The PSSP program was the fuel to my fire.”
In four years of the PSSP’s history, it has sent more than 326 public school students to some 25 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada. Last year saw the graduation of 13 students from the initial cohort.
This year, according to the program’s scholarship division, the goal is to ensure that they connect students with institutions that are the right fit financially and academically. With already more than 100 applications in the system, Hinsey’s team is preparing for another competitive scholarship season.
“It’s a misnomer to believe that the public school system fails to produce top-notch students,” said Hinsey. “Every year we receive applications from a large pool of highly academic, very impressive candidates with only a limited amount of spots.”
Hinsey said that it’s the large number of noteworthy applicants, with often heart-wrenching stories unique to the socioeconomic backgrounds of the candidates, that fuels her desire to see the program expand.
The government of The Bahamas, via the PSSP, has secured relationships with nearly 30 colleges and universities that have committed to offer tuition waivers and discounts to students in the program. PSSP students have performed so well that some of these institutions have expanded their agreements with the Bahamian government to include scholarships and discounts to all Bahamian students who apply and are accepted into their institutions, whether or not they are from public or independent high schools.