JM | Sep 19, 2022

Challenges not insurmountable with Burger King’s help, say scholarship winners

/ Our Today

Maria Toscano (centre), of the BK Foundation in the US, holds her special Jamaican token presented by representatives of Burger King Jamaica (from left) Sabrena McDonald Radcliffe, Head of Sales & Marketing; Donna Ann Ventura, Company Director; Valda Ormsby, General Manager and Donovan Witter, Head of Operations at the recent Burger King National Scholarship Awards Ceremony.

Hope, prayer and a determination to succeed, backed by a Burger King scholarship, are being touted as the recipe for success by several recipients of scholarships and bursaries from the popular quick service restaurant.

The Burger King scholarships are particularly welcomed to beat the financial challenges that would have otherwise made tertiary education near impossible for them.

“Our 2022 scholars, especially the tertiary awardees have shown us that all is not lost for Jamaica. Despite facing seemingly insurmountable difficulties, they have excelled at levels that are impressive. Burger King is proud and happy to have them join our family of scholarship recipients,” said Sabrena McDonald Radcliffe, Burger King head of sales and marketing.

Richard Lake, chairman, presents Shaquille Brown with the 2022 Rodwell Lake Tertiary Scholarship at the recent Burger King National Scholarship Awards Ceremony.

Shaquille Brown, the 2022 Rodwell Lake Scholar who has been admitted to study Biochemistry at The University of the West Indies (UWI), said that “the value of education is something that I have understood since a very young age”.

Added Brown: “Neither of my parents had an opportunity to attend college and faced many struggles in their personal and professional lives because of this. This struggle especially affected my mother who has seven children including myself. She made a commitment early in my life to do everything within her power to instill in me a love of learning and an understanding of the importance of hard work and dedication.”

He continued: “I have been able to devote the time and energy necessary to academic accomplishment even though money has always been tight; because of her love and sacrifice over the years. Most days I went to school with the money for transport because that is what she had. I am enrolled in the PATH program so I go to collect lunch there at school. In my fifth form year at St George’s College, I had the highest average in the graduating class and as such was consequently named valedictorian of the class. I keep myself engaged in the activities mentioned because helping others is a priority of mine especially those in similar positions to myself. My family has made many sacrifices to allow me to focus on education throughout primary and secondary school. I now have an opportunity to become the first person in my family to attend college, with Burger King’s financial assistance I can now realize what has been a long-term goal for me and a dream for my mother.”

Anthony Parker, 2022 BK Bursary recipient, said: “Excellence is not a gift but a skill that takes practice. We do not act ‘rightly’ because we are excellent, in fact, we achieve excellence by acting ‘rightly.’ These words of Plato have been my guide since I was 15 years old, I was in grade nine and about to choose the subjects that I needed to pursue my career choice. From this statement, my understanding is that excellence comes through a lot of hard work, you may not feel motivated to get up every day to push yourself, but you should know what your goal is and work towards achieving that goal, that way you will achieve excellence.” 

Parker, who lives in a single parent household with his mother and younger brother, saw their circumstances deteriorate even further when his mother lost her job due to the closure of her workplace at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. 

He has also been through a number of health scares, including acute lymphatic leukaemia at the age of 15, which caused him to miss classes including ithe last two terms of grade nine and first term of grade 10 at Calabar High as he grappled with the intensive phase of treatment at that time, weight loss, hair loss and just being severely ill.

“I am very grateful to have overcome my illness and now I am ready to pursue my dreams.”

Anthony Parker, 2022 BK Bursary recipient

He, however, was not deterred.

“At the age of 17, I sat the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations while undergoing treatment and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and was successful in all eight subjects, obtaining six grade ones and two grade threes, with these grades, I attended sixth form at Calabar High School. A year later, at 18 years of age, I sat the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) while still undergoing treatment and scored two grade twos, a grade three and a grade four.”

Said Parker: “I am very grateful to have overcome my illness and now I am ready to pursue my dreams. I am passionate about advocacy and rendering service to others. I envision myself as a nation builder where I can give back to the vulnerable and needy of our society hence my passion of pursuing law and politics. My passion goes deeper on a personal level after visiting the inner-city of Denham Town while going to the doctor for treatment and seeing the countless number of children on the streets in deplorable condition.”

He added: “As  an attorney and politician, I would be in a place to effect change as well as advocate for the betterment of these children. I am very  grateful and appreciative for this  scholarship.”

Sabrena McDonald Radcliffe, Head of Sales & Marketing, presents Anthony Parker with the 2022 Burger King Open Tertiary Bursary (male) at the recent Burger King National Scholarship Awards Ceremony.

Ajani Campbell 2022 BK Open Scholar, said his Burger King scholarship has put him on the path to realising his dream of becoming a production manager by attaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Operations Management at The University of the West Indies.

Very community-minded, he has served as the president for both the Science and ISCF clubs and head boy of his high school. He is a member of his community’s police youth club and one of the praise and worship leaders as well as the president of the youth department in his church.

“I cannot wait to use my degree to help create new innovative solutions and manage them for whichever company I get to work with so that it will serve customers in the best possible way,” Campbell said.

“I come from humble beginnings. I do not know my father. My mother has six of us and my step father is really the breadwinner. My life has always been financially difficult. I did not even know how I was going to attend university, because, even though my mother wanted me to do so she just did not have the money to send me. I had  to be hunting for scholarships and sponsors.

“It is difficult, but I am trusting God, because He has never failed me. I wanted to go to sixth form but my mom encouraged me to find a job because she did not have the money, but I was adamant in fulfilling my dream. My school gave me free lunch and someone sponsored my CAPE fees.”

He added: “I am so thankful  that the Burger King scholarship has “secured my space at the University of the West Indies by paying my tuition and hall fees, as well as providing  the resources I need to continue my education, learn valuable skills and qualify me for my dream role.”


What To Read Next