High School scholarship seekers know that a BTL Scholarship is among the best that's out there. But there aren't that many of them out there - matter of fact, there are only 15 compared to 26 in 2012.
A lavish ceremony was spent for the lucky 15 at the Biltmore today and Courtney Weatherburne has the story:
Courtney Weatherburne reporting
Today 15 students were awarded High School Scholarships under the BTL Scholarship program. They held a ceremony at the Biltmore Plaza to celebrate the accomplishments of the promising recipients. Courtney Weatherburne has the story.
It is always a great joy to see our Belizean youths prosper and today these 15 scholarship recipients received the recognition they deserved for their dedication to their academic fulfillment and resilience in the face of personal hardships. The ceremony began with a profound message from the Minister of Education, Patrick Faber about the power of the mind.
Patrick Faber, Minister of Education
"I found this part of the book very interesting and I'll share it with you as a kind of motivator for you. I hope it van be useful, it says your mind is a thought factory. It's a busy factory producing countless thoughts in one day. You agree with that? Yes, production in your thought factory is under the charge of two foremen; one of whom we will call Mr. Triumph and the other Mr. Defeat. Mr. Triumph is in charge of manufacturing positive thoughts. He specializes in producing reasons why you can, why you are qualified, why you will. The other foreman Mr. Defeat produces negative deprecating thoughts. He is your expert in developing reasons why you can't, why you are weak, why you are inadequate. His specialty is the why you will fail change of thoughts. Both Mr. Triumph and Mr. Defeat are intensely obedient, they listen to you well. They snap to attention immediately. All you need to do is to signal either foreman and give the slightest mental beck and calm. If the signal is positive Mr. Triumph will step forward."
Over 500 participants from across the country applied for the scholarship but only 15 distinguished youths were selected. Dr. Dionne Miranda, Chief customer service manager explained the selection process and described the feedback and success of past scholarship recipients.
Dr. Dionne Miranda, Chief Customer Service Manager
"Like you mentioned the major deciding factor has to be need, but also we have to look at the academic performance and we also look at the students' interest in school and at the same time the interest of the supporting team that will be behind the students. We are not asking only of parents because a lot of the children in there don't have parents, but some of them have church members that recommended them and said that they were going to be there to support them. They have guardians, they have grandparents who came in with them to the interview and said how they will play that role in their life."
"We have had great feedback. In fact one of the things that we've started to do is to do like an alumni, we are trying to find some of our students and we have an excellent grouping. I can't tell you that everybody became a doctor or a lawyer but I can tell you that all of them are successful. All of them are respectful committed citizens to Belize. I have like Andrea Rodriguez who is now on the Divas Show in Belmopan, I don't know if you know Andrea and Andrea keeps in touch and update us on things. In fact we still sponsor some of her events because we still play role with her. We have one of our students Melanie Blake, she is actually working in our marketing department right now, so basically they work with us, they go on to be something else but I can tell you they always remain committed and they stay around."
So what's next for these recipients? And what advice do they have for their fellow youths? Well, we caught up with them and asked.
Keisha Palma, 12 years old
"I was anxious and happy and a little excited."
Abdi Bochub, 12 years old
"First of all I feel very anxious and excited, but before we started I felt a little bit frighten or afraid. I will be attending Orange Walk Technical High School and want to be a technician of computers."
Naya Bodden, 12 years old
"Excited of course, kind of nervous a little bit, otherwise I am good. To those children, don't think of it as life is over because life isn't over, you have a whole life ahead of you, so don't let this one tragedy keep you back because you are amazing and you can do many more wonderful things to help Belize become a better place."
The BTL scholarship program was initiated in 1991 and over 500 Belizean students have benefited from the program. Apart from covering tuition, fees and books the program provides mentoring services for recipients.