BTL awards 14 scholarships

vlcsnap-2013-08-23-11h10m21s40vlcsnap-2013-08-23-11h20m12s104It is one of the longest standing scholarship programs in Belize, and 22 years later Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) never fails to put the smile on the face of a deserving student. On Thursday, 13 high school students and 1 junior college student were given the opportunity of a lifetime, as the newest members of the telephone company’s scholarship program. They were the final selection of a group of 60 candidates culled from over 500 applications. Michael Augustus, BTL’s senior manager in charge of the program, goes over the details.

Michael Augustus –  BTL’s Senior Manager:

vlcsnap-2013-08-23-10h50m08s247We sent out over 2,500 application forms to schools, we also had [them at] all our district offices countrywide. Students then filled the form, sent them in with all the necessary requirements that were placed on the form. We received just two shy of 500. The committee was then selected and the committee went through all the 500 applications forms which we narrowed down to 60. We invited those 60 students in for an interview. We looked at their academic performance from Standards 4, 5 & 6 along with the PSE as well, as well as their needs. Based on that the committee did a week of interview and came up with the 14 students that were most deserving based on what we were looking for.

Mr Augustus tells us what the scholarship does and doesn’t cover.

Michael Augustus –  BTL’s Senior Manager:

vlcsnap-2013-08-23-11h11m45s158It covers tuition, books and fees for four years of secondary school and also this year we have a junior college student, who was awarded one.  We cover books and tuition and fees as well for two years of Junior College. We also do mentoring and counseling with the students as well.

They need to maintain at least 5 points above for the High School students, or the Junior College [they have to maintain] a GPA of 2.5.  They are not suppose to fail a year, and they need to adhere to all the policies and rules of the institution of their choice.

A trademark of the program is BTL workers mentoring scholarship candidates. Dr. Dionne Miranda, the general manager for BTL’s customer service and public relations, explains how the program benefits the company.

Dr. Dionne Miranda – General Manager of Customer Services/ PR:

vlcsnap-2013-08-23-10h58m54s112We see great returns.  In fact, many of the students who get scholarships from us, some of them come back and work for BTL.  So we’re getting great employees.  BTL doesn’t only want people to know that we do good, we want to feel that we do god as well.  This is one of the ways to impact the lives of the kids.  The things that Michael and his team have to discuss, they’re heart-wrenching, the situations these young people go through.  This morning Michael showed me a text on his phone, where one of the students wrote in and said, “Thank you.  Having you there for me is like having a parent.”  Some of them don’t have both patents.  So at the end of the day, it enriches our staff, and so they give back more to society.  We believe it’s in giving, you receive, and vice-versa, you give to get and you get to give.  So, we’re trying to train our staff in understanding the role you must play in a society.  We’re trying to have these kids realize that, “You’re getting the opportunity, so then give it back to somebody in the future.”

Education Minister Patrick Faber was on hand at Thursday morning’s ceremony. There are currently 78 students on scholarships at twenty-two high schools and two tertiary level institutions across Belize.

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