When Rovoni Scott, now a grade nine student at the Hopewell High School in Hanover, started his chicken-rearing project at home in Retrieve, St James, in 2017, he had no idea that a year later he would be named the Jamaica 4-H Club’s Boy of the Year.
Back then, the main focus of the 4-H Club member was to make enough profit from his fledging business to assist needy students at his school.
In April the 14-year-old Rovoni started his sojourn at Hopewell High and was named the Jamaica 4-H Club’s Boy of the Year 2018 during the National Achievement Expo at the Denbigh Showground in Clarendon. Shemique Dawkins of Glenmuir High in Clarendon was named the 4-H Club’s Girl of the Year.
The students were both presented with prize money of $1 million; 50 per cent of which was to fund their high school education, while the remainder was designated to assist with their respective agricultural enterprises.
Last week, during Hopewell High’s annual prize-giving and welcome service, Scott presented two students with cheques to cover the cost of their Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination fees for the subject agricultural science. The money represents part of the profit that the youngster accumulated from his chicken-rearing business.
The recipients, grade 10 students Kayola Ellis and Rickay English, who are also members of 4-H Club, expressed gratitude for the gesture.
“I feel very, very happy. It was nice of him to make that kind gesture. I am doing other subjects and my parents are finding it difficult to pay for them, so I am happy that he (Scott) is paying for agricultural science,” said Ellis, who is also sitting physical education and Spanish come next year.
English, who was last year successful in two CSEC subjects while in grade nine and plans to sit four more subjects next year, said: “I am feeling very thankful because not many high school students would want to give back, so I am really grateful.”
Scott said his decision to help was based on the fact that there are students who are finding it difficult to pay for their exam fees.
“I really wanted to help some needy students who might not have enough money to sit their subjects and are struggling, so this is my little way of giving back,” he shared.
“Ever since I was much younger, I saw people having chickens and I found out in the 4-H that you can use chicken rearing to help other students, and that’s the reason why I joined.”
Starting over 12 months ago with 30 layers, the farm has already seen a 100 per cent increase in the number of birds.
Scott, who has a passion for running the farm, said the produce is mainly sold to the Cambridge Cash and Carry supermarket in St James. The supermarket buys at least four dozen eggs on a weekly basis and, in addition, several area residents are also his customers.
He thanked his buyers for their patronage and several Hopewell High teachers, including Fabian Taylor, Suan Fletcher, Jodia Salmon, Samantha Myrie and Tracyann Campbell-Reid, who have assisted him with the project.
Without them, he stressed, he would not have been named the 4-H Club’s Boy of the Year 2018 and, therefore, able to assist students with their exam fees.
Scott’s mother Yvonne Ward-Hardie stated that she is elated that her son had decided to assist other students from the profits of his farm.
“I am elated. I am happy that he has this kind of heart for others. Apart from assisting the students, he gives eggs to needy people in the community where he lives,” said Ward-Hardie, who is an education officer.
“I am heartened too that I have a child like this, especially a boy, who has chosen to assist students who are doing agricultural science.”
Scott, who is on Hopewell High’s honour roll, is hoping to become a neurosurgeon, but he stressed, “I will still have my farm.”
By: Mark Cummings