Campion College ‘Spirit of 86’ scholarship grows strength to strength
Joy was the overriding sentiment on a Saturday morning when Mikayla Bartley collected her award as the 2022 Campion College Spirit of ’86 scholarship recipient. Moved to tears, Mikayla expressed how much the award meant to her since even at her tender age, she recognised that the weight of her mother’s financial burden had been greatly reduced.
Mikayla is the fourth recipient of this scholarship, conceptualised by members of Campion College’s Graduating Class of 1986. Driven by donations from alumni now living all over the world, this renewable funding supports one student during their 3rd to 6th-form years, adding a student each successive year. Annual tuition, transportation, lunch and book expenses, along with their CSEC and CAPE fees are covered. A critical lesson learned from the COVID-19 pandemic was the provision of a technology package to each awardee consisting of a laptop, lifetime access to Microsoft Office, a mouse, and a headset. Students also benefit from summer mentorship/internship opportunities when they are ready.
“I was deeply touched by how much the scholarship meant to Mikayla,” shared Cherryl Hanson-Simpson, treasurer of the committee of seven 1986 alumni leading the charge to make the idea a reality.
Kathryn Wong-Crooks, chair of the committee, reflected: “When I called Mikayla’s mother to give her the happy news, she immediately broke down, sobbing. The sense of joy and pride – but most critically – the relief she felt was palpable. I couldn’t help but cry as well. This is why we do what we do.”
Mikayla’s mother, Andrea Bryan, was thrilled for the support. She expressed the hope that Mikayla would one day be inspired to pay it forward to help students in the same manner.
The alumni group celebrated together when Daniel Miller, the inaugural awardee in 2019, achieved 9 CSEC subjects with a Grade 1, many of which were assessed at a grade 1 level in all criteria of evaluation. During the summer of 2022, while awaiting his CSEC results, Daniel received his first paid internship at the HiPro Veterinary Pharmacy thanks to a Class of 86 alumni. “I believe that not only did I gain knowledge on the field of veterinary medicine, but also obtained new skills and experience from this new experience,” Daniel reported.
The scholarship initiative is a highlight of the active community maintained by the Class of 1986, which staged its 35th reunion in the summer of 2022 and interacts daily via its WhatsApp group chat, created to facilitate regular contact and to foster a sense of community. They continue to explore fundraising tools that will add value and sustainability to the project: “Merchandise and ongoing virtual fundraising strategies remain key goals,” Robin Rickhi, another committee member, explained.
The hope is that other graduating classes – even from other schools – will come together and create similar programmes. The Class of 1986 stands ready to share with and learn from them.