Bahamas News

Two Students Make History by Receiving the All Bahamas Merit Scholar Award

#Nassau, August 9, 2019 – Bahamas – For the first time in 25 years, two outstanding Bahamians have been recognized as All Bahamas Merit scholars.

The 2019 winners, Mahlia Neely, a graduate of Queen’s College High School and Dehron Smith, a graduate of Nassau Christian Academy, have received full scholarships valued at $140,000 to attend colleges abroad.

The Governor General, the Most Hon. Cornelius A. Smith, headed the list of dignitaries at a special ceremony to honour the 17 All Bahamas Merit and National Merit scholars in the Ballroom of Government House, Thursday, August 8, 2019.

Ministry of Education officials including the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, Minister of Education; Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary; representatives of the Scholarship and Educational Loan Division and the National Scholarship Committee, family, friends and well-wishers were also in attendance.

This year’s recipients represent six high schools, namely Queen’s College, St. Augustine’s College, Nassau Christian Academy, St. Andrew’s International School, St. John’s College and Lakeview Classical Academy.

For the first time a home schooled student, Madisson Symonette, a graduate of Lakeview Classical Academy, received a National Merit award. Luke Carey, a graduate of St. Andrew’s International School, is the 2019 All Bahamas Merit Runner Up.

Minister Lloyd said the All Bahamas Merit Scholar is the most coveted scholarship award in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas for a very significant reason, not only because of its signature profile, identifying the “smartest,” most “successful” student in the academic world in the country.

“It is because of the money; $35,000 a year, $140,000 across the four years; that is nothing to sneeze about. We are proud to be able to award these magnificent young people this privileged award here in The Bahamas,” he said.

The ceremony also included remarks by representatives of Queen’s College and Nassau Christian Academy, the top performing schools; reflections by Aaron Edgecombe, the 2018 All Bahamas Merit Scholar, a student at the University of Miami, remarks by the two 2019 All Bahamas Merit Scholars and an overview of the All Bahamas Merit and National Merit programme by Cheryl Carey, a member of the All Bahamas Merit Scholarship Committee.

She congratulated the scholars, thanked their parents for their support and commended the six schools represented for preparing their students to achieve high honours.

To the honourees she said, “Much has been given, therefore much is required from you. This investment by the Government of The Bahamas will yield unimaginable dividends as you build your bridge from this point to the next.”

The All Bahamas Merit Award is valued at $35,000 per annum for up to five years, it is tenable at accredited universities and colleges locally and abroad

The National Merit Scholarship is the second highest level of scholarship awarded by The Bahamas Government.

It has a maximum value of $25,000 per year for up to four years and is also tenable at accredited universities, colleges or institutions locally and abroad.

The Governor General presented the scholars with their awards.

By: Kathryn Campbell

Photo Captions:

Header: Governor General, the Most Hon. Cornelius A. Smith, is pictured seated in the centre among the All Bahamas Merit and National Merit Scholars. He is flanked to the left by the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, Minister of Education and Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary. 

First Insert: Mahlia Neely, the 2019 All Bahamas Merit Scholar, receives her award from Governor General, the Most Hon. Cornelius A. Smith. 

Second Insert: Dehron Smith, the 2019 All Bahamas Merit Scholar, accepts his award from Governor General, the Most Hon. Cornelius A. Smith.

(BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

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