A hazy Saturday morning was made brighter for the families of two Campion College scholarship recipients who met with alumni in the school’s courtyard to receive their awards.
“To be the recipient of the 2020 Spirit of ’86 award is an honour and a privilege,” explained Kashief Barton, a third-form student at the institution. “It means a great deal to me and my family because it will help us, financially, to maximise my school opportunities and help me to achieve my future goal of becoming a paediatrician.”
Barton is the second recipient of Spirit of ’86 scholarship, started by members of Campion College’s graduating class of 1986. Driven by donations from alumni now living all over the world, this renewable fund supports one student during their third- to sixth-form years. A student is added each successive year.
This year, the Spirit of ’86 scholarship committee transmuted funds previously allocated for transportation and lunch to provide virtual learning support. Each scholarship recipient was given a laptop, a wireless mouse, and headphones.
“We see this as an opportunity to give back to a school that gave so many so much. Our hope is that every graduating class in every school will try to do something similar. Imagine what a difference that could make to thousands of families,” shared Jamie Ogilvie, one of a core group of 1986 alumni leading the charge to make the idea a reality.
Daniel Miller, the 2019 Spirit of ‘86 recipient, said that although the previous school year was challenging due to COVID-19, he was “looking forward to facing fourth form. I know the support I am getting from this scholarship will go a long way”.
In recent years, members of the Campion College class of 1986 have embraced various social-media platforms to facilitate regular contact and create a sense of community. “After our 30th reunion in 2016, it became imperative for me to stay connected with as many of my classmates as possible. Out of a simple WhatsApp chat group and our collective commitment to leverage that community to create lasting impact, the idea for this initiative was birthed. To see donations now coming in from graduating classes as far back as 1979 is heartening,” noted Kathryn Crooks, an alumna now living in Canada.
The class of 1986’s work continues as figuring out how best to add mentorship and other forms of support to the Spirit of ’86 programme is a priority. Also of critical importance is devising sustainable ways of effecting this paying-it-forward-focused support year after year. Hence, “merchandise and ongoing virtual fundraising strategies are high on the agenda,” Rebecca Tortello, another class of 1986 alumna, said.