Alice-Kristina Clare, Lakeno Lightbourne and Robynn Smith will all receive high school education free of charge to the private school of their choice, after each having received a full six-year Bright Minds, Bright Future scholarship courtesy of Wendy’s and Coca-Cola.
The scholarship recipients will also receive an annual book allowance and begin their private school education in the fall.
In selecting the trio, scholarship committee members said they chose students who embody the principles of students with bright minds which, when nurtured, places them on the path to bright futures. They also said the selection was not easy and that narrowing down the field from the dozens of exceptional applicants proved an arduous task. In the end, they were pleased with the students selected to be awarded a Wendy’s and Coca Cola Bright Minds, Bright Future scholarship.
Clare, a graduate of Ridgeland Primary School, will attend St. John’s College in the new academic year.
Lightbourne, a graduate of Sandilands Primary School, will attend St. Augustine’s College in the fall.
Smith, a Sadie Curtis Primary School graduate, has elected to attend Queen’s College.
Clare, Ridgeland Primary School’s graduated head girl, upon hearing she had received the scholarship, was happy and relieved that her hard work paid off.
The 11-year-old who has aspirations of becoming an oncologist, impressed the scholarship selection committee with her intelligence, grace and writing skills, according to members.
In her essay, she noted that she is a living testimony that success can come out of an educational system that many people consider broken.
“I have risen to the challenge and I have run this race with faith, patience and endurance,” she wrote.
The scholarship, she said, grants her the opportunity to attend a “prestigious private school” and that a person’s education is one of the most important aspects in determining whether or not they become a productive member of society.
“Education is so important,” she wrote.
Clare said she thought she should be selected to receive a scholarship because she is intelligent, smart, focused, determined and goal-oriented. And that she knows she can achieve anything she wants to, once she puts her mind to it.
“It all started many years ago when I entered preschool as an avid reader. It was there that I started to develop all my other skills that would propel me into who and where I am today. All work and no play began to make me into a dull girl, so to my academic skills I quickly added some social skills by getting involved in my school’s extracurricular activities, youth activities around church, as well as other civic groups, projects and community service initiatives.”
Her aunt, Gigi Davis, said she screamed with joy when the family got the news. She said her niece had been working towards earning a scholarship for a long time.
Scholarship committee members said they were instantly won over by Lightbourne’s personable demeanor, personality and passion for learning when he walked into the room for his interview.
The former Sandilands Primary School head boy, who dreams of becoming a pilot, will be the first person in his immediate family to attend a private high school.
He wrote in his essay that he is dedicated to his academic pursuits, and if selected would take on challenges because he is an innovative problem solver, and a leader who aims to uplift, inspire and impact his community and country.
Lightbourne, who enjoys reading, swimming, track and field and “moderating assemblies”, said he is looking forward to meeting new people and starting high school-level math classes.
Lightbourn was proud of having been a leader at his primary school and hopes to do the same in high school.
He says his mother, Felicia Smith, is his role model and that she supports and encourages him to challenge himself.
Robynn Smith, the former Sadie Curtis Primary School head girl who aspires to become a cardiologist, raises awareness about heart health and inform Bahamian women about preventative measures and the warning signs of heart disease, also has a keen interest in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field. She participated in her schools’ LEGO league, where she worked along with a team to build and program a robot to perform simple commands.
When she found out she received the scholarship, she said she was “excited” and felt she had accomplished the first step to her future goals.
“A scholarship is a major opportunity that not many kids are able to experience. I think that I should be one who experiences a scholarship! I deserve this scholarship because I am respectful, reliable, trustworthy, passionate, honest, caring, responsible and persistent.”
She says she is looking forward to the overall high school experience as well as her future creative writing classes.
Her aunt, Veronica Sturrup, said her niece worked hard, and without the scholarship, it would have been a challenge for the family to allow her to attend a private high school.
Applicants are selected based on academic performance, individual financial need, involvement in community and/or civic service, extracurricular activities and overall leadership potential.
AnneMarie Romer, Aetos Holding Limited (Wendy’s) marketing manager and a member of the selection committee, said each year the bar seems to be raised higher every time they interview new applicants.
“It was extremely difficult to choose just three winners because we were truly impressed by every single student that we met – but Robynn, Lakeno and Alice-Kristina did an awesome job. We look forward to following their high school journey as they have promising lives ahead of them.”
Nikia Wells, Caribbean Bottling Company communications marketing manager and a member of the selection committee, said they interviewed remarkable young men and women.
“They were not only intelligent, but mannerly, civic-minded, laser-focused and just overall great students,” said Wells.
She said Caribbean Bottling Company was proud to partner with the Wendy’s team to award the students with scholarships and is excited to see who the students will grow into in the future.
The scholarship program is committed to helping children reach their full potential through mentorship, nurturing and the pursuit of academic excellence.
The Wendy’s and Coca Cola Bright Minds, Bright Future Scholarship Program was established in 1997 and allows both companies to consistently invest in the education and mentorship of some of The Bahamas’ next generation of leaders.
“It is always nearly impossible to narrow down the Bright Minds, Bright Future applicants, but this year was particularly challenging,” said Gabriella Suighi, Caribbean Bottling Company activations marketing manager. “Each and every candidate had something exceptional to offer, and I have no doubt that these students will thrive in their new schools.”