Bahamian students were expected to be awarded up to $2 million in scholarships at the Think College HBCU Presidents’ Forum and College Fair, which took place over the weekend, according to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity President Kevin Basden.
The college fair was hosted by the local chapters of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Presidents from a number of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were present at the event.
The colleges and universities represented included Fisk University, Philander Smith College, Virginia Union University, Harris-Stowe State University and Wiley College.
The presidents of the various institutions met with high school students, some of whom were awarded with scholarships on the spot.
Basden said around $1 million was awarded in scholarships on Saturday, and it was possible another $1 million would be awarded yesterday.
He noted that the schools took a number of factors into consideration in awarding scholarships.
“The majority of them have been academic, but there were also some students that were involved in extracurricular activities as well, and some of that was taken into account. I do know there are some music scholarships as well,” he said.
Among those who received scholarships on Saturday were Andrea McIntosh, Dominique Gibson, Danniel Clarke, Amber Capron and Tredijah Duncombe.
Basden said the event came about as a result of a challenge to get more Bahamian students to consider HBCUs for their education needs.
“Every year, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity recognizes and awards the two top students in the country,” he said.
“That’s New Providence as well as the Family Islands in terms of the boys that are graduating from high school.
“Last year at our honors day, we had Dr. Roderick Smothers, the president of Philander Smith [College], as one of the keynote speakers, and during the period in time, he not only offered a couple of scholarships, but he also challenged the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, seeing that there were so many bright young men, to say… a lot of the programs that they are going off to study are also being offered at historically black colleges and universities, and they can look at some of those as an option.
“So we took up the challenge, and along with the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, we hosted this college fair to be able to expose students to HBCUs where students can consider those as an option to get the same good quality education, but also at lower costs, and in fact sometimes with scholarships.
“So hence we are here today with a number of presidents. We will be making this an annual event. In fact, we will probably have another college fair later this year for students who want to go off for the next school year.”
The presidents also met with the director of education in hopes of establishing a relationship.
“We had a forum whereby the presidents that came in met along with ourselves and the director of education, and what we also discussed was some type of relationship to formalize this in terms of Bahamians being able to go off to these universities and not only get scholarships from the universities themselves, but also getting local scholarships from government as well,” Basden said.
He added, “So Dr. Smothers would have challenged us. We stepped up to the challenge and we see it as a win-win situation, not only for their universities, but also for Bahamians to get good quality education.”
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish