Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Khalaylah Maccabbee, a first form student of the Saddlers Secondary School, and a proud recipient of the 2020-2021 Susanna Lee High School Scholarship Award, expressed profound appreciation to the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board for the life-changing award.
“I am here today to show my appreciation to all of you at Social Security for your help in my preparations for high school especially in this time when COVID-19 is around and no money there. Many thanks once again,” said Ms. Maccabbee during the Awards Ceremony held at the Social Security Board Room on Thursday, November 11, 2021 for the new inductees into the programme. “In my family there are eight mouths to feed and five of us are attending school. So when I heard I received the Social Security Scholarship I felt great joy. …You really helped me out and not just me but also my family especially in these times of frequent changes, money shortage and facing eh global pandemic.”
Ms. Maccabbee said that the rising cost of education is posing a significant challenge for students and teachers.
“Imagine money is scarce but textbook prices are getting more expensive, hardly affordable now that each child is entitled to have a device of their own. But not only children feel it, teachers do too. Teaching tools are getting more expensive and teachers have extra work to do like sending notes or explaining to children who were or are out of school due to COVID-19,” she said.
She noted that schools in general are fighting to remain opened and virtual learning is becoming a burden for both students and parents due to a number of reasons. These include but are not limited to the lack of devices and or internet access; short attention span; an unfamiliarity with technology, and the undeniable value of in-person learning.
Ms. Maccabbee said that rising in this new era requires a mindset of change, helping one another and being our brother’s keeper. Young Maccabbee pledges to be that change.
“While change might be delayed for the entire country, with the help of the Almighty Father, my family, friends and this Social Security Scholarship, I will make that change. I will continue to rise above all odds and soar in this new era,” she said, reflecting this year’s theme ‘Rising Above and Soaring in the New Era.’
The Social Security Board Scholarship Programme began in 1983. At that time, the value of the scholarship was set at EC $300 per school year to cover the cost of books and uniforms from third to fifth form. However, in 1989, the scholarship committee adjusted the value from EC $300 to $500 for 2nd, 4th and 5th form students and EC $750 for 1st and 3rd form students to enable the recipients’ parents/guardians to be able to cope with the increasing cost of books and uniforms. Additionally, the period of the scholarship was extended from three to seven years beginning at first form through to fifth and onto the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC) upon acceptance.
To date, 225 students have been inducted into the programme.