‘Ace with Grace’ positively impacting lives

A boy on an online session
A boy on an online session (Photo credit: Katerina Holmes)

The Grace Kennedy’s tutelage programme ‘Ace with Grace’ is reinforcing the importance of volunteerism while offering academic assistance to youth. For both tutor and student, the experience has been positively transformative.

The Ace with Grace programme, through which GraceKennedy (GK) scholarship recipients are required to fulfil most of their voluntary hours, was officially launched in November 2020.

“A beautiful concept” is how Tamai Edwards, recipient of the 2019 Rafael Diaz Scholarship for Business and director of the programme described it. She noted that because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, they needed an alternative to volunteerism through the GK Campus Connect Food Bank.

“We needed a solution, a way for students to be able to continue to volunteer, but also to keep them safe because of the pandemic. So, it just emerged that these are brilliant students, so we could use their talents and help high school students in need; because there is a vulnerability that exists now. Students are being left behind at school because they’re not getting that face-to-face interaction, so it was just a win win situation,” said Edwards.

Malik Brown, 2020 recipient of the Carlton Alexander scholarship deemed it a rewarding experience both for himself and his students.

“I had a student; she texted the night CSEC results came out and she said she got a two in history and I was really proud of her. She said history wasn’t necessarily one of her favourite subjects, but just knowing that I was able to assist her on receiving a good grade was very fulfilling,” he said.

Sharing similar views was tutor Abbigail McDonald. “It makes me more fulfilled in a sense. I like the fact that I am doing something meaningful and actually helping others,” she said.

Dominick Powell, a student benefitting from Abbigail’s mentorship, says the sessions are welcoming and a safe space. “For Abbigail to be in my age group, it’s wonderful, because she can see and know the struggles I might have beforehand and try to capitalize that and turn it into a driving force for me to better understand what I’m trying to achieve in a certain course or specific topic,” said Powell.

Kadeen Grant, a medical student at the University of the West Indies, Mona was elated when she was granted the GK Merit Scholarship. “I wasn’t able and still not able to afford my schooling on my own. I was really glad! I was really happy that they chose me,” she said. She added, “Ace with Grace allows me to contribute to national development, in such a way that I am impacting lives for the future. I’m not just teaching students so that they can learn and pass. I am teaching them so that they can learn compassion and patience for others.”

Asha Spence, a sixth form student at the Queen’s High School says she plans on signing up for CAPE sessions with Ace with Grace after receiving a grade two in CSEC History. “After doing my exams, I thanked my history tutor for helping me, because he took a lot of time out to help me,” she said.


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