ST. THOMAS — A story about his parents’ triumph amid challenges, and their migration from Haiti for a better life in the Virgin Islands, helped secure a $10,000 scholarship for Schneideur Bredy from The Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas.
Bredy, 20, a University of the Virgin Islands student, was presented with a large check last week as part of the company’s annual scholarship awards.
To apply, applicants must be high school graduates, permanent residents of the Virgin Islands for least five years, submit recommendation letters, transcript and a 500-word essay explaining why they should receive the scholarship.
Bredy, a graduate of Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, submitted “My Parents’ Struggles,” which tells the story of the migration of his parents, Flores and Linouze, and him from Haiti to the Virgin Islands and details their efforts to gain U.S. citizenship and the obstacles they had to face.
His mother, Linouze, was present Jan. 25 as he accepted the award.
“When my mom heard about the announcement, all she said was ‘so this is what you been doing on your computer?’” Bredy said during a brief ceremony at The Ritz-Carlton.
He told The Daily News he learned of the scholarship from a UVI professor and applied right away.
He thanked his parents, his teachers — from elementary school to college and the Upward Bound program — which he said motivated him “to focus on my studies and to never give up.”
Bredy, who is majoring in computer science, said he hopes to find a career in networking and programming.
“Initially, I wanted to major in criminal justice. But as I dealt with computers more it became my hobby and I wanted to do more with computers and technology,” he said.
Ritz-Carlton Director of Human Resources Pedro Hernandez said Bredy was selected for the scholarship by the resort’s “Guidance Team.”
“We have conducted this scholarship for several years and welcome new and old students to apply,” Hernandez said. “We encourage students to take advantage of the opportunity to help further their education. And we’re proud to say this is one of our many ways we give back to the community.”
Hernandez and Human Resources specialist Jackie Barnes said the scholarship will go directly to UVI and will cover Bredy’s tuition and books.
“Whatever the student’s outstanding balance is, the money covers it,” Barnes said.
Other Ritz-Carlton staff in attendance included General Manager Arjun Channa, Director of Sales Clifford Brutus, Director of Food and Beverage Carlos Guiterrez, Director of Hotel Operations Ian McPhee and Director of Finance Carol Baker-Robinson.
“Everybody has a story and scars,” Channa said of Bredy’s story. “So, make yours a compelling one and as genuine as possible. Keep it real, and I think Schneideur did a great job in keeping his story real and making it about his family. Which turned out to be a compelling reason for us to choose him.”
The general manger also had some advice for anyone facing challenges, especially students.
“My message to anybody considering opportunities such as this, no matter what stage of your life you are in, know that you have a purpose and try to find it,” Channa said. “Don’t rush the process. Don’t worry about getting from A to Z, focus on going from A to B and then C, the rest will fall into place.”
The scholarships are part of the resort’s agreement with the V.I. Economic Development Commission program that in turn exempts the company from the vast majority of the taxes it would normally pay to the territory.