Liberians – especially young people – face a harsh economic reality. Unemployment is high and the business climate is poor. Meeting basic needs (i.e., food, clothing, shelter) is becoming increasingly difficult. Situated in this reality are the young people, the country’s “future leaders” – especially those making strides towards obtaining (college)education. If they manage to enter (college)school, the prospects of remaining to the finish are very low: They often score poor grades, carry less credit loads, and consequently overstay (some up to seven years) because they have one foot in school and the other foot outside – looking for sustenance and funds to meet their learning needs. This is also true for students pursuing journalism at the University of Liberia. Aspiring to become high performing professionals aiming to strengthen and transform the media in Liberia, most of Liberia’s future journalists are struggling like most of their colleagues to stay in college due to the tough economy.
Amidst this reality, the J.P. Hicks Family Mass Communication Scholarship continues to provide scholarship support to excellent and highly motivated journalism students. Established since 2010, by longtime American Journalist and writer Jonathan P. Hicks, the scholarship has benefitted nearly 20 students in the Department of Communication and Media Studies (formerly Mass Communication Department).
This year, the foundation awarded scholarships to four students: Gloria Wleh, Sekou Kamara, Sylvester Choloplay, and Simeon Wiakanty. Beneficiaries received stipends to help them meet their study needs such as fees, internet data for research, transportation, and the cost of books and other materials related to their studies. This will allow them to take up required semester credits and to devote sufficient time to studying.
The widow of Jonathan Hicks, Mrs. Christy Hicks, encouraged this year’s recipients to “work hard in school and when you graduate, become the leaders of the next generation of ethical and excellent journalists who will lead Liberia into an ever-brighter future”.
We are grateful to the Hicks family scholarship for the support to our students and to journalism by extension.