Financing her living expenses while carrying home a reduced salary due to the impact of COVID-19 on her workplace had made it challenging for 25-year-old Leshell Francis to finance a Master of Science in accounting degree, but after being given a $250,000 scholarship recently, she feels a burden has been lifted.
Francis was one of two recipients of the inaugural Kenneth Chung Memorial Accounting scholarship last Friday. His son, Dennis Chung, said the scholarship is one of the ways the family of the late accountant hopes to honour his legacy.
“He was someone who was very serious about education and he was actually the one who funded the education for most of his siblings,” said Chung, a chartered accountant.
But apart from honouring the late Chung’s memory, his family and friends who contributed to the scholarship fund also wanted to assist a needy student.
“The two main criteria of giving the award is that persons would have done well in their first year at a certain standard, and secondly, that they would have had the financial need,” he said.
Francis, an accounts coordinator at the Goddard Catering Group (Jamaica) Limited, easily met both criteria. Her company supplies meals to the airline industry, but given the closure of both the airport and seaports between May and July this year, Francis saw a cut in her salary.
“This scholarship was timely,” said the Old Harbour High School past student, who fell in love with accounting during her high school years.
Despite an initial plan to grant one scholarship, the panel of judges who conducted the interviews for the scholarship were equally impressed with 29-year-old accountant Orane Wint. Wint, a full-time employee at the National Environment and Planning Agency, is pursuing his master’s in accounting part-time at the University of the West Indies, Mona.
“Currently, my master’s is being funded by SLB (Students’ Loan Bureau), because despite working, I couldn’t afford paying for it,” he said.
PASSION FOR ACCOUNTING
Like Francis, he developed a passion for accounting while attending high school. The St Catherine High School past student had financed his undergraduate programme through SLB, as well as with a scholarship he received from the St Catherine High School Past Students’ Association.
“Normally, when scholarship comes out, it is specific for full-time students,” said Wint, who was encouraged by his programme coordinator to apply.
Although multiple persons had applied and seven were eventually shortlisted for interview, Wint and Francis emerged the winning candidates.
“These two were very difficult to separate. Two young persons who definitely have the financial need and also the intellect that we were looking for,” Chung said.