As Ian Fair and his daughters Nicole, Sasha, and Kelly Fair donated $240,000 to create the Sylvia Fair Scholarship Fund to support three qualified government school students from grade nine through 12 at St. Andrew’s School – Angelo Knowles, a 2020 graduate, said the scholarship he was awarded to attend the prestigious high school had been “nothing but a blessing”.
“When posed with the question of what this scholarship means to me, I think about the idea of opportunity – an opportunity that has opened the doors for further education and the expansion of my knowledge and awareness of culture,” said Knowles who attended the school with his twin brother.
“Last year, I was awarded the Ernst & Young Jamaine McFall Memorial Scholarship to fund my tertiary education at Dalhousie University, [Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada] where I am pursuing a bachelor of commerce degree in accounting with a minor in finance. This is just a mere example of the endless possibilities that [a St. Andrew’s International School] scholarship provides.”
The Sylvia Fair Scholarship will allow for one student each from Long Island, Abaco, and New Providence annually, to attend the prestigious high school.
Fair, who passed away in 2020, was never a student at St. Andrew’s International School, but she had a love for education, her family said, and her children and grandchildren all attended the school. Her family revealed that some of Fair’s greatest moments of satisfaction in her later years were the gifts of scholarships to St. Andrew’s School students, most recently to Don Daxon, from Crooked Island. And that it was in that spirit that her husband, Ian, a former St. Andrew’s International School board director, school parent and current grandparent, and their three daughters, wished to perpetuate her memory.
“She never forgot where she came from, and she never forgot the power of education in a child’s life – a force for good in the world,” said the Fair family.
By establishing the scholarship fund in Sylvia’s name, the Fair family said it is hoped that people always remember the value of a well-rounded education, how its discipline and character-strengthening form the backbone of people’s decisions and plans as they progress through life – as they did for her.
Her family said Fair recognized that a sound education provides the solid foundation for a productive and meaningful life, and that without it, opportunities are limited from the outset.
The three islands from which the students will be chosen is also significant to the Fair family. They chose Abaco, Long Island, and New Providence as the three islands that were “nearest and dearest” to Sylvia’s heart and where she had the closest connections.
Gordon McKenzie, St. Andrew’s International School principal, described the Sylvia Fair Scholarship Fund as an exciting expansion to the school’s program and said they were grateful to the generosity of the Fair family in memory of her unwavering passion for education that will support three more diverse and deserving young Bahamians to join the St. Andrew’s community.
“The challenge and opportunities on offer here will ensure that each of these students develop the 21st century skills and global mindset necessary for a highly successful future,” said McKenzie.
To be eligible for consideration, students must be Bahamian, have attended a government school for at least two years preceding their application, have lived and schooled predominantly in one of the three islands specified, be at least 14 years old by August 31, have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.30 or above, and have a demonstrable history of service to the community.
McKenzie said impressive candidates for the New Providence scholarship have already been identified. Applications for the Abaco and Long Island scholarships will be released and circulated. Deadline for applications is Friday, May 21.
McKenzie said he is looking forward to August when the three Sylvia Fair scholars join the institution and “take the next step on what is going to be a challenging, exciting, and extremely rewarding learning journey”.
The three new students will join their current group of scholarship students representing New Providence, the Berry Islands, Eleuthera and Long Island.
“The Fair family’s history of philanthropy and dedication to this school community, as well as academic excellence, sets a wonderful example for our students,” said McKenzie. “Service-mindedness is not only a learning goal but an expectation at St. Andrew’s. We hope that all members of our community will learn and grow with the needs of others in mind, and act as a force of positive change whenever possible.”