EVE BURNS, GIFF JOHNSON
Marshall Islands United World College (UWC) National Committee selected three intelligent and sharp-witted young ladies as recipients of two-year scholarships to three different UWC schools abroad. UWC is made up of a network of 18 schools on four continents.
The majority of them focus on high school, with some also catering to younger students. Each school has its own unique location and character and is dedicated to nurturing young people’s energy and idealism into empathy, responsibility and lifelong action.
“UWC makes education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future” is the straightforward though complex mission of the UWC schools.
The Marshall Islands UWC National Committee reviews student applications each year to match qualified Marshallese students with UWC schools offering scholarships. The UWC National Committee was first established here in 2011.
This year’s scholarship awardees are receiving two-year scholarships for the 2022-2024 school years.
From a pool of 20 applicants from four high schools, the UWC National Committee selected Amaziah Lamata to attend UWC Pearson College in Canada; Renise “Lulu” Emil to attend the UWC ISAK school in Japan; and Alsina Thomas to attend the Li Po Chun UWC in Hong Kong.
Both Renise and Alsina were Laura High School students, and Amaziah was at Majuro Cooperative High School.
Marshallese high school 10th graders will be able to apply for one or more UWC scholarships from late September to the end of November this year for the 2023-2025 school years.
Further information about UWC can be found at uwc.org, on the Facebook page United World College Marshall Islands, or through email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The students are:
• ALSINA THOMAS: One of this year’s United World College scholarship recipients, getting ready to travel to Hong Kong for two years, is known to be outgoing and fearless in the face of challenges.
Alsina, known to friends and family as the outgoing and funny girl, is also someone who works hard to achieve her goals. The Arrak resident completed 11th grade this past year at Laura High School and was selected by the Marshall Islands UWC National Committee to attend the two-year high school program at UWC Li Po Chun in Hong Kong.
Alsina has set goals for herself to accomplish during her two years in Hong Kong.
Her goals are to have perfect grades, be a good Marshallese student, be a good example to her siblings and others, and be more confident and to learn more about English language to perfect her speaking skill.
She will be departing the Marshall Islands to start her educational journey later this week.
“I’m most excited to meet people and make as many friends as I can, explore the school environment especially the library, and excited that I’m finally going to learn how to take care of myself and prove to my parents that I can be an independent young woman,” Alsina said.
She wants to become a doctor, following in the footsteps of her older sister Simiko who is a nurse. After learning and educating herself about the school in Hong Kong, she became even more excited and eager to attend the school.
• AMAZIAH LAMATA: This year Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific in Canada launched a new two-year Climate Action Leadership Diploma program and offered a scholarship to the Marshall Islands.
The Marshall Islands UWC National Committee selected Amaziah from a shortlist of high school applicants and she arrived at the British Columbia school late last month to begin her studies.
Amaziah was born and raised in the islands a Filipino Marshallese with understanding of the culture at a young age. She is passionate with arts and debating is how Amaziah describes herself. Her hobbies are reading, writing, and drawing.
“A year ago, I was just your everyday freshman attending Majuro Cooperative High School,” she told the Journal. “It wasn’t until one day, Giff Johnson and his team came to our school presenting the UWC scholarship program. I was very intrigued and felt like I needed to do something as I listened to their presentation. After I had become a sophomore, the opportunity presented itself after the principal handed us the application forms. That feeling from last year, still not going away as I quickly filled it out with optimism.”
When asked what she was most excited about she said, “I was told that the UWC is a very open experience, one where many cultures and ideas are usually shared. Since many outside the RMI aren’t aware or knowledgeable about the islands, I feel that by sharing the Marshallese spirit with others will be a learning experience for others as well as for myself.”
Amaziah has arrived on campus and is getting ready engaged in the school program. “A lot of cultural shock, and a little overwhelming because of so many new faces but it’s fun meeting everyone and joining the activities,” she said when asked how she feels being on campus.
Amaziah told the Journal that she’s working to become a lawyer. “It is my dream to become a lawyer,” she said. “More specifically an environmental lawyer who studies about the climate and its impact.”
• RENISE LULU EMIL: Athletic and brains doesn’t begin to describe our United World College (UWC) scholarship recipient attending school in Japan.
Lulu, daughter of Dr. Handy and nurse Elmine Emil, arrived in Tokyo last Friday to start at UWC ISAK in Japan for two years.
Lulu told the Journal that in her free time, she loves playing basketball and reading books.
“I love meeting new people and experiencing new things,” she said. “I also like to think that I’m capable of doing everything.”
UWC wasn’t on Lulu’s radar until Marshall Islands UWC National Committee members came to Laura High School to speak to students about the program last year. After the presentation, Lulu decided to take a shot at applying for the scholarship.
“I really didn’t have the intention to apply for the UWC at first,” she said. “I just saw it as an open opportunity and just went for it.”
When asked what most excites her about going to Japan, she said: “I’m most excited about the fact that I’m getting out of my comfort zone and getting out into the world to experience new things. Explore new things and do the things that I’ve never done before. But I’m mostly excited about the foods there.”
Lulu wants to be a neurosurgeon, following in the footsteps of her parents in the medical field.
“My goal is to become a neurosurgeon. I love brains. I also want to get a PhD degree,” she said excitedly.
She says she’s ready for the rigorous international school environment at UWC. “I want to achieve good grades obviously, I want to graduate with a diploma and not just certificates,” she told the Journal. “I want that diploma so that I can come home and then slap the people that doubted me in their faces and respectfully say ‘you thought wrong.’”
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