Students of the St Patrick’s RC School will benefit, for at least five more years, from Michael Mansoor scholarships which are funded by CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.
The Michael Mansoor scholarships honour the legacy of the late Chairman who helped found the regional bank in 2002 and led it until his retirement, 12 years later.
A July 12 news release from CIBC said Mansoor credited his academic development to the grounding and education he received at a Roman Catholic school and so in 2014, the bank committed a minimum of BBD $200,000 – BBD $20,000 annually for an initial 10 years – to provide scholarships for children at Catholic schools in Trinidad and Barbados.
The release stated that principal of St Patrick’s RC in Barbados, Dr Marvalene Roach and Bishop Neil Scantlebury of Bridgetown received the final tranche of scholarship funds under the current ten-year contract. The bank, however, assured them that the end of that contract was not the end of the relationship, rather a new contract would be offered.
“Dr Roach and Bishop Scantlebury expressed gratitude to the bank on behalf of the school’s administration, pupils and parents noting that the school was upgrading its programme to meet the needs of its pupils, which included the scholarship beneficiaries,” the release said.
It mentioned that Bishop Scantlebury drew attention to plans to establish new science and art labs as he thanked the Lord and CIBC FirstCaribbean for honouring the legacy of Mansoor by giving students access to a good primary education. Responding, Dr Roach pointed out that from September, the school would be developing a special learning unit having recognised the number of students suffering with disabilities such as dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and autism.
“We will not be taking them out of their regular classrooms generally, instead they will have periods with specially trained teachers,” she said in the release.
Dr Roach pointed out that they had already started the programme with the help from personnel of The University of the West Indies who had been conducting sessions with the students, but the school was now creating a dedicated space for the programme and would be adding resources, human and non-human.
She added that the school was also looking to source at least 20 computers to outfit its computer lab.
Lynda Goodridge, who presented the scholarship funds, acknowledged the strides the school was making and pointed out that the late Mansoor was extremely keen on giving young people access to education as he believed and stressed its importance to their growth and development and that of the Caribbean.
Goodridge, who worked with him for several years, stressed that he would have loved the gesture and CIBC FirstCaribbean was therefore pleased that the school had allowed it through its charity arm, the FirstCaribbean Comtrust Foundation, of which she is a trustee, to memorialise Mansoor in this way.