Governor- General His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Allen delivers welcome at the I Believe Initiative's (IBI) Summer of Service (SOS) Scholarship Presentation Ceremony on Friday (September 02, 2016) at King’s House.
Governor-General Sir Patrick Allen has awarded nine tertiary students who participated in the I Believe Initiative’s (IBI) Summer of Service Competition (SOS) with scholarships and grants totaling $9.8 Million.  The Scholarship Awards ceremony which is the fourth since the inception of the SOS in 2013, was held at King’s House on Friday, September 2.
 
Her Excellency Lady Allen presents a Certificate of Participation to Ms. Sherryl Clarke who was awarded a scholarship to pursue a BSc. in Tourism & Hospitality Management at the Excelsior Community College during the IBI's SOS Scholarship Presentation Ceremony on Friday (September 02, 2016) at King’s House.
In his remarks, Sir Patrick Allen spoke of the increased demand for tertiary education in Jamaica, as more persons recognize its importance to personal success and national competitiveness and growth.  However, he said that the need for funding is often appreciated very late and, as such, more planning was needed. 
 
Their Excellencies Sir Patrick Allen (centre) and Lady Allen (3rd right) with Sponsors, SOS Awardees, the National Coordinator for the Governor- General’s Programme for Excellence, Major (Ret’d) Effiom Whyte (standing left) and Project Officer, Ms. Tricia Grier (standing right), during the IBI's SOS Scholarship Presentation Ceremony on Friday (September 02, 2016) at King’s House.
“Unfortunately the reality is that more and early planning is needed to fund tertiary education as funding is often only appreciated by many students at a time when they cannot pay for the tuition to go further,” he stated.
 
His Excellency Sir Patrick Allen interacts with Abrahim Simmonds, the top 2013 IBI's SOS Scholarship winner who will be the first awardee from the programme to graduate from university, when the Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work is conferred on him by the University of the West Indies, Mona (UWI) in November 2016.
Sir Patrick Allen commended the awardees for their commitment to engaging in voluntary activities when they could have otherwise enjoyed themselves.  He described the SOS awardees as “ambitious young persons who are committed to being successful in academics and in their professional careers,” as he applauded them for their personal sacrifice. 
 
He further stated that with some employers requiring work experience of new graduates, by volunteering with partner organizations   of the SOS competition, they have gained useful skills and constructive work experience that complement their education.  He therefore urged the awardees to build on the foundational experiences gained during the process.
 
Funding for the SOS scholarships is made possible each year by corporate sponsors in the fields of education, energy, finance and commerce.  As in previous years, this year’s recipients will purse Bachelor’s Degree programmes in a variety of areas, most of which reflect an alignment with national STEM priorities for the country’s development.  
 
The objective of the competition is to reward academic excellence while promoting volunteerism.  Each participant is required to use their summer holidays in volunteer work and must maintain a 3.0 GPA average during the course of their studies.