CONTACT: DEANNA JAMES, PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
(TEL) 340.773.9898, (EMAIL) staff@STXFOUNDATION.ORG
St. Croix, U.S.V.I. — St. Croix Foundation is pleased to announce the opening of the fourth cycle of the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund for St. Croix youth on April 15, 2021. Geared towards providing opportunities for St. Croix students to pursue their career goals through colleges or universities, scholarships, not to exceed $5000, will be awarded to successful applicants. All applications will be reviewed on the basis of residency, school attendance, and GPA.
2021 graduates from a St. Croix public high school who reside on St. Croix are eligible to apply. All applicants must provide proof of acceptance to an accredited college or university and must indicate and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher. Applications will be reviewed by the St. Croix Foundation Grants Review Committee and must be received no later than May 15.
The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund was established in 2018 by Junior Gaspard, a native of St. Croix and graduate of Central High School and John H. Woodson Junior High School, in honor of his grandparents, Patrick and Amelia Williams. The Williams’ hard work, determination, and resilience is a legacy that Junior Gaspard and his family are committed to passing down to further generations, providing opportunities for St. Croix youth to overcome any obstacle with strength and perseverance. To date, the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund has awarded nine scholarships to St. Croix students totaling $35,000 to defray tuition expenses for awardees to attend Monroe College in New York, Houston Community College in Texas, and the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Agnes College, and more.
Gaspard conceived of the fund after visiting St. Croix post-Hurricane Maria and Irma. Wishing to do something that could have a long-term impact and knowing first-hand the challenges high-school students face preparing for and getting resources for college, Gaspard worked with St. Croix Foundation to develop the fund to meet the needs of youth. “The last year of this pandemic has required a high level of flexibility and adaptability from students all across the world, and especially so in the Virgin Islands. We are confident that our 2021 award recipients will continue to display the perseverance to excel in their academic careers as we enter our Post Covid ‘normal’,” Gaspard commented.
Gaspard has seen firsthand the drive and ability of St. Croix youth and knows many just need access to the resources necessary to seize the opportunity of higher education. Today, the Gaspard family is building awareness and mobilizing community both on and off the island to increase opportunities and availability of resources for more local youth.
In reflection of the spirit of Patrick and Amelia Williams, the scholarship Fund also gives priority to young people who are involved in meaningful community service. The selection criteria for the scholarship also take into consideration the challenges that young people face and the Foundation invites students to demonstrate in essays the reality of their socioeconomic circumstances.
The Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund will provide a minimum of two scholarships a year with all scholarship recipients required to report on their successes and challenges throughout the year. This process will ensure that the Fund continues to meet current needs and to provide students with additional support if needed.
The full application and guidelines can be found on the Foundation’s website at https://www.stxfoundation.org/youth-education/grants-scholarships/. All applications are due May 15. Applicants will be informed of decisions by June 15. St. Croix Foundation recognizes that while times may be uncertain, students are encouraged to begin the application process immediately. If challenges or questions arise regarding completing the application and/or obtaining required documents, staff is available to assist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
St. Croix Foundation wishes to extend its sincerest appreciation to Junior Gaspard, who is strategically giving back to the community and honoring those that provided him further opportunities that have led to his success! Special thanks are also extended to the Gaspard family for spearheading fundraising initiatives and working to support beneficiaries throughout the year. For more information about how to support the Patrick and Amelia Williams Opportunity Fund, please visit the Foundation online or call at 340.773.9898.