COB receives $82,000 from ministry toward program
Published: May 06, 2013
The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture recently presented The College of The Bahamas (COB) with another financial contribution for the Scholar-Athlete Program, which currently provides financial aid for 57 students.
The program has significant implications for the development of athletics in The Bahamas and the recruitment and retention of talented Bahamian athletes from around The Bahamas. Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Dr. Daniel Johnson presented COB President Dr. Betsy Vogel-Boze with a check for $82,000 for the 2012/2013 fiscal year, which contributes toward tuition, books and dormitory expenses for the students in the program. To date, the ministry has provided $401,000 in total financial contributions since November 2008, and is the single largest donor to the program.
“This is a continuation of the government’s support for this great institution of The College of The Bahamas and my ministry’s support for the great student athletes of The Bahamas,” said Minister Johnson. “We know that many of these students will become the leaders of tomorrow. We know that many of the CEOs of our companies here in The Bahamas and around the world are former athletes. We know that they may not turn pro in the sport that they are in, but they will make us very proud in the very near future,” he added.
The minister also acknowledged the college’s capacity to make a transformative impact on the development of athletics in The Bahamas. The minister has already requested the input of the institution’s athletics department on the development of local sports academies.
“We have asked Mrs. Kim Rolle to begin thinking about how do we integrate a sports academy into the university atmosphere where we know that kids who come from the Family Islands who may not be up to scratch in their exposure to academics, may have tremendous potential (in sports),” Minister Johnson said. “I envision a sports academy as a boarding scenario with a year of intense language skills, math skills, science skills to bring them up to the level of college eligibility, but without them being left behind or falling through the cracks. I think there are so many ways to integrate these young people who have natural talents,” he added.
Since the Scholar-Athlete Program was launched in 2008, the college has developed 14 student-athletes who were selected for national teams in basketball, track and field, soccer and volleyball. Director of Athletics at The College of The Bahamas, Kimberley Rolle, spoke of the need for sustained support from the ministry and the impact of the college’s athletic program on national sports development.
“It is because of a partner like the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture that The College of The Bahamas’ Athletics Department is now able to thrive and flourish because the reality is that student-athletes want and ought to be rewarded for their talents. One of the things over the last three to four years that we are very pleased with, is that we have more and more of our student-athletes who are a part of national team programs,” she said. “We really see ourselves as the feeder for the national sports programs. Jamaica has proven that it can be done and we often say why not The Bahamas? Why not the College of The Bahamas? We certainly expect this partnership to continue and from it you will see the results of student-athletes who will now become national team members of various disciplines throughout our country,” she added.
COB President Dr. Betsy-Vogel Boze said although the program is relatively new to the college, it has made a tremendous impact on the lives of students.
“Intercollegiate athletics is so important to developing our campus and activities, but it is important to developing citizens because those who participate in sports do better academically. They are more likely to attend their classes, to stay in college to finish, but they also learn sportsmanship and leadership and the lessons that they learn in sports aren’t just on the playing field,” Dr. Boze said.
Currently, there are 82 student-athletes at the college, 57 of whom are receiving financial aid from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. Of this number, 13 are from the Family Islands including Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera, Exuma and Andros.