JOA scholarship propels Shanae Gordon to academic excellence

By Sports Desk May 12, 2021

In her daily practice and play, Shanae Gordon is used to clutching a ball and outsprinting rivals. In the classroom, the national rugby player is proving how much those qualities are part of her educational habits, by grabbing a scholarship provided by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and run with it to now earn an academic scholarship.

One of the first recipients of the JOA Scholarship, Gordon, who is pursuing a degree in the Bachelor’s of Education programme at G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, expressed gratitude for the JOA Scholarship and now this addition awarded by the institution for her exploits in the classroom.

“After receiving a grant from the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), through the Jamaica Rugby Football Union (JRFU), I must say my journey has been tremendous and exciting. In receiving my grant, it has reduced my financial burden and it is ensuring my success in the future,” said Gordon revealed.

Noting that she has been emboldened by interview opportunities that came as a result of her being a historic recipient of the bursary, she added: “Subsequent to getting this award I received multiple interviews from both radio and Tv stations about being a recipient of this sporting grant and it was just the beginning of my journey. I tend to be a very shy person. However, after completing several interviews I became more confident and outgoing.”

Continuing, Gordon said: “The thought of getting help to finish my third year has given me a very strong drive, whereas it motivated me intrinsically. I have been doing well academically, but this grant allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and make a lot of improvements. Regardless of the difficulty adapting to the online learning, I couldn’t find the courage to complain due to the fact that it was an adjustable situation.”

Ryan Foster, Secretary/General/CEO, JOA, said in creating the scholarship, this is the sort of impact they intended to advance the educational perspective of athletes in becoming wholesome individuals.

"The JOA scholarship was created to provide an avenue for our athletes to excel not only on the field of play but in the classroom. Our expansion of the educational perspective, we believe, is another avenue within which our athletes can benefit from our expansive member services. This is in addition to our Internship Programme, our IT shared services, as well as our recently launched Equipment Grant,” outlined Foster.

“The JOA will continue to put our athletes at the front and we are excited to witness the success of Ms Gordon not only in the classroom but also on the field where she will represent the country in the upcoming Olympic Qualifiers in June.

“Ms Gordon and all the JOA scholarship awardees are the first recipients of what we consider a part of our legacy, one which will lay the foundation for many years to come,” added Foster.

Novelette Harris, Member Services Manager, JOA, noted that Gordon’s success proves the balance is quite achievable.

“We are proud of our scholarship recipients and are happy that they continue to do well in their capacities of both athlete and student,” said Harris. “This serves as a demonstration that there can be a balance between sport and academics. The JOA will continue to provide the necessary support, financially and otherwise.”

Gordon said Harris has been supportive of her efforts.

“This grant has changed my way of thinking and I appreciate the fact that it didn’t only come with funds for me to finish college, but it came with a strong individual, Ms Harris, who continued to tell me not to give up. It helped me to believe in myself more and I just want to say thanks again to the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) for granting me this scholarship. Great things are yet to come,” Gordon promised.

Chairman of the JRFU, Jerry Benzwick, said the association is proud of Gordon’s academic achievements, noting that they also share the JOA’s vision of “rounded athletes”.

“We at the JRFU are extremely proud of Shanae Gordon, our first rugby union recipient of a JOA Academic Scholarship. She has spent her time over the past school year maintaining a high standard of study. Shanae has proven herself an excellent ambassador for the sport,” said Benzwick.

“We share the JOA’s vision of rounded athletes who can move beyond their sport and be exemplary citizens who contribute positively to the development and growth of Jamaica,” added Benzwick. “Shanae is now in preparation to compete with her team in the Olympic Qualifier Repechage in June and we look forward to them qualifying.”



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