Three students win English Speaking Union grants
Three Bermudian students have got a cash boost from the English Speaking Union in the organisation’s education grants for the next academic year.
Cree Dunn, 18 and 19-year-old Jaylen Simons were awarded grants of $3,000 and Riley Jackson, 18, received $4,000 as she headed off for her first year at university.
The ESU offers awards every year to Bermudians studying for degrees in English and related subjects such as journalism.
Cree, from Devonshire, has her sights set on a Bachelor of Arts with honours in journalism, media and communications as well as economics at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.
She graduated last year with an International Baccalaureate Diploma from the Bermuda High School for Girls.
Cree said she had spotted the ESU Education Award on the Bermuda scholarships website.
Its support for journalism students sparked her application.
She added: “I am extremely grateful to the ESU for awarding me with this bursary. It will aid me in furthering my education.
“I want to thank Mary Murray and Marjike Peterich for taking the time to interview me. I truly felt they wanted to get to know me as an individual and are invested in my future.”
Cree advised would-be applicants for ESU grants to “work hard and dream big”.
She said: “All of the work you put in now is an investment into your future self.”
“Learn to be reflective and you will see how far you have come. Growth and progress comes from challenges and taking risks.”
Riley is headed to De Montfort University in Leicester in the UK for a joint honours Bachelor’s Degree in English literature and drama.
She expects to graduate in 2024.
Riley, of Sandys, also heard about the awards through the Bermuda scholarships website – and noted it was designed for students of English.
She added: “I did not think that there would be one, a scholarship, for my degree.
“Once I read about it, I knew I had to try.
“When I heard that I was going to get an interview, I was a mix of excitement and stress. I was excited at the possibility of receiving the scholarship but stressed out about the interview.
“I had to remind myself that there was something about me that they liked, so I had to make sure that I showed myself in the interview.”
She added Ms Murray and Ms Peterich, the ESU interviewers, made the experience a comfortable 30-minute conversation about her future.
Riley said it was a relief to hear she had been accepted.
She added: “I felt as if there were people out there that would truly believe in me and wanted to not only see me succeed but to help me do so.”
She said the award would mean “less stress on my family”.
Riley’s advice for students who faced an interview was to “have fun with it”.
She added: “I know everyone says, 'just be you’, but that is the best thing you can do.
“Having everything that you have accomplished put into a list and then find ways to speak on it will show the scholarship board your personality.
“You are the one who is going to get you where you want to go.”
Jaylen, from Hamilton Parish, is pursuing classical studies with English for a literature degree in the classics at King's College, London.
She is expected to graduate next year.
Jaylen said her interest was sparked by an article in The Royal Gazette last year on ESU award winners.
She added: “I was excited to learn about this scholarship as there are not many available for students studying English literature.
“Outside of my studies, I have done a fair amount of writing and recently had some of my work published.
“I thought this would make me stand out as a candidate, and applied.”
She said her interview went well and she was “ecstatic” to get the award.
Jaylen added: “I've had to work remotely this year which has been challenging but receiving these funds will assist in my return to London to complete my studies in person,” she said.
“I am truly very appreciative of the English Speaking Union for this award.
“I would encourage all English major students to apply – you'll never know if you don't.”