This year’s Scholarship Gala opened a new bridge of opportunity between Cedar International School and the Youth Empowerment Project (YEP). Peter Island Resort was the elegant backdrop for nearly 200 guests to congregate and raise funds to offset the educational expenses of ambitious and talented ‘Yeppies’ who wish to gain the highly regarded International Baccalaureate education that Cedar International School offers.

Mr. Mark Forte, Mr. Gerard Farara, QC, and Mrs. Lorna Smith, OBE, the Joint Chairs of the Scholarship Gala, stated that ‘A quality secondary education is, we believe, one of the most empowering experiences you can have at a critical point in life, and is an essential rung in the ladder of future opportunity and prosperity. To increase access and open doors to that experience is what the Scholarship Gala is all about.’

Scott Crawford, Director of Cedar International School added ‘We are confident that opening this bridge of opportunity between Cedar and YEP will have a lasting impact. The scholarships will provide a life-changing opportunity to those individuals, and will benefit those around them, the school, and society as a whole.’

Since its inception, YEP has been providing free after school opportunities and activities for young people in the Virgin Islands. YEP is a safe haven that provides positive activity, great role models, and has a single guiding aim; to empower young people to take positive steps, helping them realise their full potential.

Cedar’s transformative Scholarship Fund actively increases access to educational opportunities, regardless of the ability to pay. Indeed, some 25% of Cedar students are recipients of either scholarship or financial assistance, empowering individuals, opening opportunity in the community and bringing talent and diversity to their classrooms.

Shakima Fagan, a beneficiary of both programmes and a talented musician, spoke movingly about the opportunities afforded to her and the impact that both YEP and Cedar have had on her development. She then treated the guests to a wonderful musical performance of one of her original songs.

Since the event’s inception Peter Island Resort have enthusiastically supported the Scholarship Gala, and have established a scholarship fund for children of the resort staff. Scott Hart, General Manager of the resort said that ‘Of all the initiatives I have been involved with at the resort, this is one that I really value highly. It is hugely gratifying to be able to open opportunities for the talented children of the people who work so hard for us.’

The event was a great success raising in excess of $80,000. Several YEP students are currently applying to start the 2017-18 school year at Cedar.

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