On June 25, eight students gathered at New Vision ministries to be recognized. The students, new high school grads and some who have been out of school a while, had received a scholarship from Abaco Pathfinders. After months of interviews, fund raisers and planning it was finally time to “have fun,” according to Pathfinder’s Michael Albury.
The students’ parents, family and friends were on hand to see them honoured.
Each student was called to stage to receive their plaque. Their lists of achievements were read along with their plans for college and future careers. The students represented a wide variety of aspirations and goals.
Michael Albury and Leazona Bethell, the two Abaco Pathfinders representatives, talked about how difficult this year’s selection process had been. They described how devastating it is to know you can only help so few students out of the many that are very worthy.
Students must go through an interview process. The interview board is made up of locals as well as second-home owners to ensure no discrimination or favouritism goes into the selection process.
Since the inception of Pathfinders, the organization has helped 140 students pursue a further education.
Pathfinders does not require recipients to pay back into the organization. However, as Mr. Albury and Mrs. Bethell noted, it is the organization’s hope that the students return to The Bahamas, and Abaco, and give back to their community through the skills they have been afforded.
This year’s recipients were: Nadia Joseph, Kendra Sands Smith, Alexandria Bethel, Dashane Knowles, Rayshell Sands, Amanda Bethel, Jessica Pierre and Tristan Albury.
In 2007 a special award was created within Pathfinders called the Monty Albury Award for Excellence. This year the award went to Dashane Knowles.
One unique aspect of Abaco Pathfinders’ fund raising and student selection is that students are only selected once funds have been raised for their entire college career. As Mr. Albury explained, “if Abaco Pathfinders were to close down tomorrow, the money would still be in that account specifically for your child.”
Refreshments were served afterwards as the future college students and their family took time to mingle with each other.
Abaco Pathfinders is a IRS501(c)(3) corporation that was created for the express purpose of raising funds to provide academic and vocational scholarships for deserving young people of Abaco.