History of The Foundation
The Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation is committed to recognizing and encouraging academic excellence and leadership development among the Who's Who in the Primary Schools in our educational system. Through this prestigious awards program, we seek to reward, encourage, and inspire these students in their pursuit of excellence.
The Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Awards Program recognizes outstanding 6th grade students in the Bahamian Educational system regardless of colour, creed, family heritage, island or school representation, nationality or religious affiliation.
The Awards Program
The Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Awards Program is a premier National Awards Recognition program for 6th graders in The Bahamas. Since it was established in 1997, over 2,800 primary school students have been recognized and over $2 Million Dollars in scholarships and prizes presented. The 2022 Totals: $204,000.00 in scholarships and $50,000.00 in prizes (Airline tickets, trophies, medals, computers, donation of books and other prizes) Grand total: over $2.2 Million Dollars since 1997 in scholarship and prizes.
The Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Awards Program is a premier National Awards Recognition program for 6th graders in The Bahamas. The program was introduced by Ricardo P. Deveaux - Distinguished Charter President of the Nassau, Bahamas Pan-Hellenic Council and was designed to salute the achievements of our younger achievers. Mr. Deveaux was impressed with the prestigious Florida College Student of the Year Awards Program sponsored by Florida Leader Magazine and Oxendine Publishing Company and felt the need to establish a national awards program in his country. Ricardo was one of seven finalists in the 1992 Florida College Student of the Year Awards Program.
In November 1996, the idea of a Student of the Year program was submitted to the Council for acceptance. The competition immediately received its endorsements from four educators who were serving as Executive Council Members at the time: Sharon Poitier (Alpha Kappa Alpha), Anastacia Brown (Delta Sigma Theta), Carolynn Hall-Knowles (Delta Sigma Theta) and Garnell Rolle (Zeta Phi Beta) and the Nassau, Bahamas Pan-Hellenic Council. The program also received the endorsement of Senator Dame Dr. Ivy Dumont - Minister of Education (later Her Excellency Governor-General of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.)
A committee was formed, and Ms. Anastacia Brown was selected as the Committee Chairperson. The Council selected June 9th, 1997 as the date for the first Student of the Year awards program. Thirty-one (31) students representing private and public-school students in New Providence were the first nominees in the awards ceremony. The ceremony was held at the Ballroom at Government House with Their Excellencies Sir Orville Turnquest - Governor-General and Lady Edith Turnquest in attendance. In his remarks, His Excellency challenged the Council to include the Family Islands in future contest. Vashti Darling, a ten-year-old sixth grade student of St. John's College was selected as the 1997 Primary School Student of the Year.
In October 1998, The National Pan-Hellenic Council - Southern Region selected the Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Awards Program as the Most Outstanding Original Program. This was the first international award won by the Nassau, Bahamas Council.
Atlantic Medical Insurance was the first major sponsor of the Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Award Program from 1998 - 2005, donating a scholarship to Student of the Year Winner. In 2006, Mr. Basil Neymour became the Title Sponsor and served until 2008. Some of the other Title Sponsors have been Bahamas Office & School Supplies (BOSS), Bank of The Bahamas International, Bahamas Telecommunications Company and Royal Bank of Canada. In 2007, Mr. Clarence N. Childs - Retired Vice-President of Student Affairs at Bethune-Cookman College became the first international scholarship donor. Between 2007 – present, he has impacted the life of a Bahamian student. In 2015, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. - Educational Research Foundation became the second international donor. In 2019, REV Bahamas became our Five Year commitment Title Sponsor partner with a total investment of $75,000.00 in direct funding and additional in kind sponsorship. In 2022, Oaktree Medical Center and Fidelity Bank Bahamas joined as Major Sponsors and investment over $10,000.00. They were joined by Scotiabank and an anonymous donor investing over $10,000.00 each towards the scholarship in 2022.
Under the Presidency of Mrs. Cyndi Williams-Rahming, a proposal was submitted to the Nassau, Bahamas Pan-Hellenic Council for the Student of the Year Awards Program to be incorporated under a Foundation. The proposal was submitted and approved by the Council in May 2004 and incorporated under The Companies Act of 1992 of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas in June 2004. It was agreed that members of the 2004 Awards Committee would comprise of the Founding members of the Board of Directors of The Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation.
Wednesday, August 4th, 2004 was a historic day for the officers and members of the Nassau, Bahamas Pan-Hellenic Council. The official launch was held in the form of a Luncheon at The Ballroom at Government House and it was hosted by Her Excellency Dame Ivy Dumont (then the Governor-General of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas). The thirteen-member Board of Directors were officially presented with their letters of appointments.
The founding Directors were Cyndi Williams-Rahming - President, Ricardo P. Deveaux - Chairman, Tanya Woodside - Vice-Chair of Development, Carol L. Smith - Vice-Chair of Administration, Andre' A. Moss - Treasurer and Margo Adderley - Secretary. Directors were: L. Gerard Archer, Vaughn L. Culmer, CC LaFleur, Myra Mitchell, Eugene 'Geno' Nairn, Phenton Neymour and Steven G. Strachan.
Attorney Debi Williams-Hancock of Williams Law Chambers completed the entire legal framework for the Foundation (gratis). Williams Law Chambers became the official registered office of the Foundation.
The Foundation was officially established with five hundred dollars ($500) from the Nassau, Bahamas Pan-Hellenic Council and a six thousand-dollar ($6,000) grant from the First Caribbean International Bank. The Bank awarded the Foundation with a grant in recognition of Ricardo Deveaux being selected as the First Caribbean International Bank – 2004 Bahamas Unsung Hero. He was recognized for his work with the Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Awards Program.
The Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation, in partnership with the Nassau, Bahamas Pan-Hellenic Council looks forward to continuing to host this Awards Program for the benefits of primary school students in this country.