Nineteen year-old University of the West Indies first-year Social Science student, Rashaun Kenute Watson, is the 2012 recipient of the Bruce Rickards Scholarship.
The annual scholarship which is in its eleventh year is awarded by the Grace Kennedy Foundation to a Kingston College student of outstanding academic achievement. It was created in the memory of the KC old boy and first chairman of the school’s Kinston College Development Trust Fund (KCDTF), Mr. Bruce Rickard, who was manager of Grace Kennedy and director of the company’s Foundation. The scholarship which is awarded to Rickards’ alma mater, was first announced by the Chairman of the Foundation, Mr. Douglas Orane at Rickards’ funeral which was held at St Andrew Parish Church in 2001.
Rashaun grew up in in his mother’s rural community of Sherwood Content, Trelawny, the town now made famous by Usain Bolt. He recalled seeing Usain Bolt only once even though they lived in the same district and attended the same school, Waldemsia Primary. Rushaun was appointed head boy of the school in sixth form and the only sports he participated in was athletics.
On attaining GSAT age, he chose KC over the parish’s blue-ribbon school William Knibb, because he considered Fortis a name-brand Kingston school with outstanding academic and athletics achievements. Furthermore, his father Oswald Watson lived in Waterford, Portmore which was close to Kingston. Rashaun’s dream came true when he attained an 88 average and was placed at Kingston College in June, 2005. His mother Pauline Brown packed his ‘grip’ and stacked two boxes of yam, `blue draws’ and cane for his father, and sent him off to the bright lights of the city. “Remember always to call me,” she waved with tears in her eyes as the minibus rolled out of Sherwood Content.
Rashaun Watson entered the hallowed portals of KC in Michaelmas 2005. He was not involved in extra - curricula activities in the earlier years as it took sometime attuning to the up-tempo Kingston way- of- life. So as soon as the end of school day bell rang, the country lad headed for his Waterford home to beat books. It was towards the latter part of his secondary school life, when he finally got settled in and acclimatized, that Rashaun went head long into a flurry of social activities. He joined the 4H club and the Drama Society where, under the expert guidance of Teacher ‘maestro ’Heslop he won a bronze medal in speech when he recited Claude McKay’s `If we must die’ at the JCDC sponsored festival. He also joined the Inter-School Christian Fellowship (ISCF), and the Fortis Octagon Club as well as becoming vice-president of the Foreign Language Club. He became a member of the Student Council and was one of the founding members of the Peace for Champs Committee. Rashaun was also a junior KSAC councilor for the Greenwhich Town division. His crowning triumph came when he was appointed deputy head boy 2011/2012
In 2010, Rashaun attained nine CSEC subjects: 8 (1’s) and 1(2). The distinctions were in French, literature, English, social studies, biology, office administration, principle of accounts and information technology. The grade 2 was in mathematics.
In 2011 and 2012 he attained CAPE 1 and 2 subjects in Communication studies, Caribbean studies, French, economics, accounting and sociology.
A Seventh Day Adventist in his younger days, he was a member of the Waterford Church choir. He lists singing, meeting people and watching television amongst his hobbies.
His ambition is to join the Diplomatic Corp and ultimately become an Ambassador as soon as he has attained a B.Sc. in International Relations and hopefully a master’s degree in International Law. Stephen Vasciannie is his role model.
The Bruce Rickards Scholarship alternates between Utech and UWI and covers tuition, books and travelling. The scholarship is for three years and values $400,000 per annum.
This is the eleventh year of the Bruce Rickards Scholarship and according to Caroline Mahfood, the executive director of the Trust, about J$8million in scholarship and bursaries have been disbursed by the Grace Kennedy Foundation over the period, to KC students
The ten recipients of the scholarship who preceded Rashaun Watson were:
2002: Greg Walcom. He studied Law at UWI Mona and Cave Hill and attained LLB upper second class honours. He is presently in private practice.
2003: Dwayne Morrell. When he was awarded the scholarship, he was a third-year Business Administration student at Utech majoring in production and operations management. He graduated with a BBA degree in November2005.
2004: Dwayne Burrowes. The head boy of 2002/3 completed his B.Sc. degree in mechanical engineering from UWI, St. Augustine in 2006.
2005: Junior Gowie. The Utech mechanical engineering student completed his degree about 4 years ago.
2006: Assad McKenzie. He completed his final year at UWI, Mona when he attained his B.Sc. degree in the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences.
2007: Andre Campbell. He completed his final year in mechanical engineering at Utech and graduated in November 2011.
2008: Roger Grant. A student in the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences, Roger graduated from UWI, Mona in 2010 with B.Sc. degree in Electronics as well the first cohorts in the newly introduced medical, physical and engineering programme. He is presently working with a Chinese electronics company in Belize.
2009: Francois Graham. He attained B.Sc., in computing from Utech in 2011.
2010: D’oyenNelson. He is presently a third-year student in medicine at UWI, Mona.
2011: Xavier Campbell. He presently is a second-year student in pharmacy at Utech.