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Exuma Student’s College dream comes true, thanks to race
By Diane Philips & Associates
Jun 20, 2018 - 7:31:12 PM

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From left: Chester Cooper, Member of Parliament for Exuma, Exuma Cays & Ragged Island, Devonte Ferguson, winner of the 2018 Pompey Scholarship, and Danny Strachan, Managing Director of the Exuma Foundation and Board Member of the Exuma Foundation of Canada. Credit: Nelson Ranger

Ferguson wins Pompey Scholarship

Exuma Marathon, set for November 10, prepares for another race long weekend with unique mix of history, culture, charity and tourism

Devonte Ferguson cannot remember a time she did not dream of going to college.

And suddenly, that dream almost became reality when this student from L N Coakley High School in Exuma was accepted by Holland College in Canada.

While her acceptance was exciting for the entire family, it wasn’t long before financial reality hit. Being accepted was one thing. Finding the money to make it happen, another.

The Fergusons immediately went into tight budgeting mode, but they were worried.

Last week their worries turned to smiles when Devonte, to her great surprise, was awarded the fourth annual Pompey Scholarship at her graduation ceremony.

“I nearly had a heart attack,” said dad, McDonald Ferguson, who works in Air Traffic Services at Exuma International Airport. “This goes a long way to helping us out. It was a great relief to me. God is good, because this is a tremendous help for the family.”

This fall, Devonte will study Tourism and Culinary Arts at Holland College on Prince Edward Island (PEI) and receive US$5,000 towards the cost of her tuition.

The scholarship cheque was presented to Devonte by Chester Cooper, Member of Parliament for Exuma, Exuma Cays & Ragged Island, and Danny Strachan, Managing Director of the Exuma Foundation and Board Member of the Exuma Foundation of Canada.

After speaking with her guidance counselor, she ultimately decided on Holland College after receiving many positive reviews from other Bahamians who attended. With a population of just 150,000, PEI is an island province on Canada’s East Coast. A small population base, friendly locals and the fact that it’s surrounded by ocean are all factors that made it appealing for Devonte, who will be leaving her home in Exuma for the first time.

Acadia University and Dalhousie University, located in Nova Scotia, are also popular choices for young Bahamians seeking to continue their education abroad.

Last week’s Pompey Scholarship signals that another Exuma Marathon is on the horizon.

The Exuma Marathon, featuring the Run for Pompey, is scheduled to kick off on November 10. It is once again inviting runners from all around the world to experience some of the best water and beaches in the world. The event has rapidly become one of the most anticipated weekends on the island’s tourism calendar, with races for all ages and abilities, including everything from a 2K “fun run” around George Town, to the incredible 50K “Run for Pompey” ultra-marathon.

Exuma Marathon pays homage to Pompey, the slave who in 1830 led a rebellion on Exuma when the plantation owner tried to transfer 77 slaves to another island, separating women and children from their families, not unlike the drama that is unfolding even today in the U.S. 

Steeped in this history, Exuma Marathon is unique in that it offers both a sense of purpose and culture, while also showcasing one of the country’s most beautiful islands to the world.

“Whenever you can uplift Bahamian history and culture, while raising funds for the community, and also bolstering the tourism product, it is a true win-win-win,” said Peter Nicholson, the largest owner of Grand Isle Resort and President of GIV Bahamas Inc.

“It has been a genuine pleasure to watch Exuma Marathon and the Run for Pompey grow into what it is today. It is a true community effort and something all of Exuma should be proud of.”

Exuma Marathon benefits from an array of sponsors. It is led by its title sponsor BAF Financial & Insurance, and also supported by GIV Bahamas Inc. Aliv, The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Sands Beer, Caribbean Bottling Company, Grand Isle Resort, Ty’s Sunset Bar & Grill, The Swimming Pig, Cash N Go, Superclubs Breezes, BahamasLocal.com, Bahamas Watch Exchange, Glinton, Sweeting & O’Brien and Diane Phillips & Associates.

To learn more about the Exuma Marathon and sign up for November 10, you can visit its website at www.runforpompey.com

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