Brighter Prospects scholarships transform lives

Monday, 21 May 2018

“My future is brighter than I could ever have expected and I want to partner with BP Trinidad and Tobago to help more young people achieve their full potential.” 

This declaration was made by valedictorian Amanda Mahadeo who spoke on behalf of 19 young people who graduated from BP Trinidad and Tobago’s Brighter Prospects scholarship programme during a ceremony hosted at the company’s Hospitality Suite in the Queen’s Park Oval last Thursday (May 17th).

“I would like to congratulate my fellow graduates. We made it! As we celebrate this moment, we need to thank BPTT for investing in our dreams. Despite financial challenges and the fact that no one in my family had gone beyond secondary education, I believed in my potential and chose not to waste it. I wrote [to] 35 companies and only BPTT responded, informing me about their scholarship programme. I can assert that they have made the greatest impact on young people from Mayaro and environs. They motivate us to be better versions of ourselves and the only thing we can do is make them proud by using our talents to maximum benefit,” explained Mahadeo, who will graduate with a First Class Honours undergraduate degree in Statistics and Economics from the University of the West Indies. 

Open to residents of Mayaro and environs, Brighter Prospects is one of BPTT’s flagship programmes in its suite of social investment initiatives. Started in 2003, the programme provides financial assistance to students who gain access to tertiary education at approved institutions. The programme has fostered over 550 successful graduates since its inception. Beyond the financial assistance, the company provides additional support such as academic guidance, motivational sessions and secures internship placements for its scholars.

Giselle Thompson, Vice President, Corporate Operations, BPTT, encouraged the graduates to go further, “Today is about celebrating accomplishments and I congratulate all of you for completing this stage of your studies. I encourage you to embrace this feeling of accomplishment, but also remember that learning is a lifelong process which extends beyond books and exams. Be patient, be persistent, show up strong and you will get your dream job or be successful in your own entrepreneurial endeavours. I look forward to being a part of the future that you are creating for Trinidad and Tobago.”

“Education is one of our key focus areas and spans early childhood to tertiary level as well as initiatives such as Technology in Education where we installed SMART Boards in schools and trained teachers in their use, as well as the ARROW Literacy Programme that provides remedial learning for primary school students. We are making a direct impact on the nation by investing in people and I am encouraging each of our graduates to do the same and invest your time and effort in building up your communities,” Thompson added.

The Brighter Prospects scholarship programme has been enhanced over the years to cover a wide range of tertiary education studies, such as information technology, social sciences and medicine, with at least four doctors having graduated thus far. The programme also includes provisions for post-graduate studies.

Sharing some pearls of wisdom was Ruan Mitchell, Vice President, Human Resources, BPTT: “The prospects for the future are really bright based on the cadre of the graduates gathered here today. This is an exciting start to the next chapter of your lives and I want to take a moment to give you a few tips. First off, create the capacity for lifelong learning because experience is always the best teacher. Remember that performance matters, in that what you do is just as important as how you do it; and finally, always be willing to change because if you don’t change and adapt, you will get left behind. Our nation needs people like you and beyond even that, there is a world of opportunity awaiting you.”
In a programme punctuated by a virtuoso performance by pannist Kain Cox, of the BP Renegades Steel Orchestra, the graduates were also inspired by motivational speaker and educational psychologist, Justin Rodriguez, who urged them to continue along this positive path in life: “You should be immensely proud of yourselves and whatever you have been doing to get you here, continue and you will reach even further in life. Continue to be the driven and passionate people that you are.”

The inspirational impact of the scholarship programme was reflected in the words of Reshma Gangadeen, who will graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the University of Trinidad and Tobago, “I plan to teach in Mayaro and continue developing young people. The quality and variety of expertise commanded by Brighter Prospects graduates is staggering and I would like us to form our own foundation to support and mentor young people. BPTT has given us a start and it’s time for us to take up the mantle and create even brighter prospects.”

“My future is brighter than I could ever have expected and I want to partner with BPTT to help more young people achieve their full potential.”