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Four benefit from Polaris’s $10,000 award

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Education award winners and parents: from left are Roderick Cox accepting his son, Tahj Cox’s award; Noelette Burchall and her daughter Etteleon; Cheryl Hayward-Chew, chairman of Polaris Holding Company Ltd; Lyndon Smith; Zed Scott and his father, Otis Minors; and Donnalyn Smith (Photograph supplied)

Four students who are family members of subsidiary staff at Polaris Holding Company have received a share of a $10,000 education award from the company.

Cheryl Hayward-Chew, chairman, presented equal shares of the award to the students who are heading to university this month.

The annual Polaris Holding Company Education Award was set up to assist student dependants of Stevedoring Services employees with funds for their tertiary level education.

However in March, Polaris acquired East End Asphalt Company Limited and the children of employees from the paving company also became eligible for the education award. This year the fund was shared equally between Tahj Cox, Zed Scott, Etteleon Burchall and Donnalyn Smith.

Ms Hayward-Chew said: “With East End Asphalt joining Stevedoring Services Limited and the Polaris family, we are delighted to be able to include them in the pool of education awards for the first time this year.”

Recipient Ms Smith is the daughter of Lyndon Smith, a 25-year employee of East End Asphalt. She received $2,500 towards her studies.

She is a first-year student in the nursing programme at the University of the West of England, in Bristol.

She has helped as a volunteer at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital when she was 14, which she said stoked her passion for nursing. She added: “I loved it and I can’t see myself doing anything else.”

Her father Lyndon Smith shared his appreciation for the cash infusion. He said: “The Polaris Education Award really helps us out. The funds will get us through some sticky wickets.”

Meanwhile, Mr Scott, who is a multiyear recipient of the annual PHCEA, is the son of stevedore, Otis Minors. He enters his final year studying kinesiology at the University of Texas at Arlington.

He said: “It’s been very helpful for me. It is a healthy amount that won’t need to come out of our pockets”

Sharing the lessons he learnt while at the university, he said: “I learnt the importance of time management, and how you can be rewarded for being in control of your time. Also, I learnt the power of perseverance, pushing on and not giving up — those have been important lessons to me.”

His father Mr Minors expressed his appreciation for the cash infusion.

Ms Burchall, daughter of Stevedoring Services Limited employee Noelette Burchall, was awarded $2,500 in education funds for her final year of biology studies at Spelman College.

She said: “Every little bit helps because as I work to achieve my personal education goals, I don’t want to burden my family financially.”

She explained that her mother’s employer had gone beyond just contributing financially. She said: “My mom’s boss, Mr Jones, would check in on me to make sure I was doing well in school.

“Being a Spelman student comes with a lot of pressure — high standards are always expected, so I try to carry myself accordingly. The highlight of my educational career hasn’t happened yet, I look forward to the moment I officially become a Spelman grad, when I will be the first person to graduate from college in my family.”

Her mother also thanked Ms Hayward-Chew and the company board. She said: “The investment that the company makes in their staff goes beyond the employee, but to our families as well. I appreciate that.”

Meanwhile, Mr Cox, a three-time recipient of the PHCEA, is the son of stevedore, Roderick Cox. He is entering his fourth year at Dalhousie University and is pursuing a double major in neuroscience and biology.

Education award: Polaris Holding Company has given a $2,500 education award to Donnalyn Smith, the daughter of East End Asphalt Employee Lyndon Smith (Photograph supplied)