Minister of Education announces 2013 All-Bahamas Merit Scholar


Young Bahamians making a big difference in the Bahamas!

Pictured from left: Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Jerome Fitzgerald; 2013 All-Bahamian Merit Scholar Shannon Butler, and Chairman of Lyford Cay Foundation Inc. Manuel Cutillas. (BIS Photo / Raymond A. Bethel)

Nassau, The Bahamas – Education, Science and Technology Minister the Hon. Jerome Fitzgerald announced 17-year-old Shannon Butler as the 2013 recipient of the All-Bahamas Merit Scholarship, the country’s premier educational award. The announcement was made during a press briefing Thursday, August 1.

Butler has earned awards for the Best BGCSE results in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas (10 BGCSE awards with nine A s and one B), the Best BGCSE results in an Independent School and the highest Grade in Mathematics. Minister Fitzgerald described him as an intelligent, focused young man who is mature far beyond his age. He is a 2013 graduate of Queen’s College.

Now into its nineteenth year, the All Bahamas Merit Scholarship is granted by the Lyford Cay Foundations, Inc., awarded to the single most outstanding applicant from a Bahamian high school and is worth up to $140,000 for four years of study.

Minister Fitzgerald expressed gratitude to the Lyford Cay Foundation and the Central Bank of The Bahamas, partners, for making the award possible. He also acknowledged the Lyford Cay Foundation for granting approximately $18.6 million in scholarships for Bahamians to study abroad and $4 million for study at the College of The Bahamas.

“I am also extremely pleased that you have responded to the times and national needs by awarding Technical and Vocational Scholarships, thus affording many more Bahamians the opportunity for technical training and careers. Many of them, I am certain were empowered to become entrepreneurs and establish their own businesses after they completed their studies,” said Minister Fitzgerald.

He also acknowledged the committee responsible for evaluating top high school graduates to select the winner of the All-Bahamas Merit Scholarship.

Minister Fitzgerald pointed out past scholarship recipients including Lisa Rodgers, 2007 winner, a graduate of Brown University with a degree in Education and Human Biology. She is presently a teacher at a charter school in Austin, Texas and was instrumental in the development of the Lyford Cay Foundation’s FOCUS programme which prepares students from the Northwestern District Public Schools for college.

Additionally, Gynemphas Higgs, 2008 scholar, recently graduated from Drexel University in Philadelphia with a Masters’ degree in Chemical Engineering with a 3.96 GPA.

“When you look at the success of all of our graduates, it is evident that we live in a wonderful nation which has students that can succeed at anything they set their minds to do,” Minister Fitzgerald said.

Chairman of the Lyford Cay Foundation Manuel Cutillas described the pool of applicants each year as “astounding” in terms of the talents and achievements that the students would have already demonstrated at such a young age. The Foundation expects to award 210 Bahamian students with more than $1million in scholarships offered for study in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, the Caribbean and COB.

Butler plans to study towards a Bachelor of Science degree in medicine at The University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He intends to return to The Bahamas to expand the field of cardiothoracic surgery, establish the first regional cardiopulmonary transplant service and organ donor register in the English speaking Caribbean.

“It is extremely humbling to be named the recipient of the 2013 All Bahamas Merit Scholarship and to know that the selection committee and donors of the scholarship have faith in me, my dreams and my capabilities.

“As the All Bahamas Merit Scholar, I intend to use this award to not only improve and advance my life, but to eventually improve the lives of my fellow Bahamians,” he said.