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A Win-Win: University of Pennsylvania in Talks to Offer Scholarships to Jamaican Athletes

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Representatives of the University of Pennsylvania are in Jamaica on a three-day visit to explore opportunities for providing financial aid to high school student athletes.

The visit follows last weekend’s historic celebration of Jamaica’s 50th year of participation in the Penn Relays.

“This is a welcomed and timely outreach effort,” the minister responsible for sports, Natalie Neita Headley, said in a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Monday afternoon.

“It will allow a number of our student athletes the opportunity of an Ivy League education as they continue to pursue their passion for athletics and prepare for life after active competition.”

The university team which includes the director of track and field, Steve Dolan and executive director of athletics, Alanna Shanahan, met with Headley at Jamaica House.

“I am grateful to the University of Pennsylvania for seeking to strengthen its relationship with our high schools that year after year provide so much excitement and entertainment at the Penn Relays. There is no denying the tremendous impact our Jamaica athletes and spectators from the Diaspora have on the continued success of this 120-year-old event,” Headley said.

According to Shanahan, the places offered at the university will not be athletic scholarships, noting that “even though we will seek to attract students with strong athletic backgrounds, we are looking for students who are even stronger academically.”

The competitive financial aid opportunity will be awarded to qualified CAPE students who are also able to score well on their SATs. This is to be an ongoing program and could be expanded to include additional schools over time, the OPM said.


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