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'Wagga' Hunt scholarship initiative continues to give back

September 23, 2014

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The David 'Wagga' Hunt Scholarship Initiative Awardees with main sponsors (from left), Carlene Edwards, sponsorship and public relations manager, Supreme Ventures Limited and (right) Janice McKenley, senior vice-president and group chief financial officer at the Victoria Mutual Building Society.

The memory of former veteran local coach David 'Wagga' Hunt, who had almost 30 years' experience with football in Jamaica, continues to live on following his untimely passing in October 2007.

His illustrious legacy as a role model not only in football but as a human being has been highlighted each year with the presentation of scholarships to students from his alma mater Kingston College and from Calabar High School.

Hunt was mainly responsible for reviving football at Calabar where he led them to their first title in 28 years in 2005, after just two years in charge. That year they also won their first Olivier Shield title. This was an unprecedented move, as Calabar and Kingston College are arch-rivals. However, Hunt decided to coach Calabar in an attempt to bridge the unfriendly rivalry between both schools.

This year the organising committee once again offered two scholarships to a grade eight student from Calabar and KC, each valued at $100,000. The scholarships were presented to Geovani Thomas of Calabar and Jevaughn Grantz of KC, who displayed commendable academic performance and attitude. They are also involved in sports and or other extra-curricular activities, and were deemed as in need of financial assistance.

Upper sixth form students Miguel Morrison of KC and Kamar Bennett of Calabar, having benefited from the scholarship initiative over the years, said based on the distribution of the funds, the scholarships adequately assisted them in attending school. Morrison was one of the first recipients of the scholarship initiative.

"It helps me a lot because my parents do not have the burden of paying my school fees, or paying for my CSEC Examinations. I also receive books, lunch and a stipend so I am grateful," Bennett said.

Both students upon graduation from their respective institutions will no longer be involved in the scholarship initiative. They were also presented with David 'Wagga' Hunt memorabilia that will help to further forge a bond between both schools.

The scholarship period covers the students from grade eight to grade 13 at a cost of $600,000 each and covers tuition, books, lunch and other related expenses. To date 15 scholarships have been awarded and $4.3 million disbursed over the past six years.

According to Christopher Hunt, cochairman of the Jamaica Chapter of the David 'Wagga' Hunt Memorial Scholarship Initiative, speaking at this year's scholarship awards ceremony held at the offices of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAJ), the family was touched by the support they received after Wagga's passing that they decided to keep his legacy alive by having a scholarship in his honour.

"We have events throughout the diaspora that helps us and corporate sponsorship to fund the scholarship. In 2010, we were trying to decide if the venture was sustainable; however, we put in the work to get the necessary funding that has continued to forge a bond between both schools. We can be rivals, but not enemies," Hunt said.

Hunt is described as a hard-working administrator and at the time of his passing was the general secretary of the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association and the now defunct Minor League Football Association. He is a former Meadhaven United FC Under-17 and national youth coach.

Then get support from corporate sponsors, including Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS), that have been on board since its inception and have recommitted for another six years, Supreme Ventures Limited, Proven Wealth Management, Sagicor and other initiatives locally and overseas.

Hunt stated that once the scholarship holders maintain good behaviour and academic performance they will retain their scholarship entitlement.

SCHOLARSHIP AWARDEES:

Upper Sixth Form

Miguel Morrison -- Kingston College Kamar Bennett -- Calabar

Lower Sixth Form

Emmanuel Williams -- Calabar Jevaughn Faulder -- Calabar Kevon Bartley -- Kingston College

Fifth Form

Chris-Anthony Campbell -- Calabar Ronaldo Ferguson -- Kingston College

Fourth Form

Hamani Henry -- Kingston College Delroy Mattherson -- Calabar

Third Form Clovis Donegal -- Kingston College Tajh Williamson -- Calabar

Second Form

Geovani Thomas -- Calabar Jevaughn Grantz -- Kingston College