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Alice-Kristina Clare, Lakeno Lightbourne & Robynn Smith are 2020 Wendy's & Coca-Cola 'Bright Minds, Bright Future' Scholarship Winners!

After receiving dozens of Bright Minds, Bright Future applications, the Wendy's & Coca-Cola's teams faced the arduous task of narrowing the field of exceptional students down to a handful of finalists. The 2020 crop of potential scholarship recipients included students with extremely impressive academic performances, community outreach, and glowing recommendations from their teachers and youth leaders. Each of the applicants had dynamic stories to tell, and big dreams for their futures. But, after a long deliberation by the scholarship committee, which included AnneMarie Romer - Aetos Holdings Limited (Wendy's) Marketing Manager, Shantell Lockhart - Aetos Holdings Limited (Wendy's) Human Resources Manager, Marcia Beneby -  Aetos Holdings Limited (Wendy's) Manager, Nikia Wells - Caribbean Bottling Company (Coca-Cola) Communications Marketing Manager, and Gabriella Suighi - Caribbean Bottling Company (Coca-Cola) Activations Marketing Manager, three talented and bright sixth graders were chosen. Alice Kristina Clare, Lakeno Lightbourne & Robynn Smith will all receive full-ride scholarships to the high schools of their choice, in the fall. 

Alice-Kristina Clare graduated as Head Girl of Ridgeland Primary School, and has dreams of becoming an Oncologist when she gets older. At only 11 years old, she has an extensive vocabulary, and wowed the scholarship committee with her intelligence, grace and writing skills. Upon hearing that she had received the scholarship to attend St. John's College, she noted that she felt "happy and relieved that [her] hard work paid off." 

Alice-Kristina comes from a close knit family, and credits her aunt and grandmother as her role models. During her primary school career, she also took part in a number of extracurricular activities, including her school's spelling club, dance club, choir, student council, and Junior Achievement. She is also a junior usher, a member of the Bahamas Junior Debutante Program, a member of a local chess club, and a Bahamas Girl Guides Program participant. 

Gigi Davis, Alice-Kirstina's aunt, noted that she "screamed" with joy when the family got the good news about the Bright Minds, Bright Future scholarship win. Davis added that her niece has been working towards earning a scholarship for a long time, and that their entire family is both proud of Alice-Kirstina and grateful for the award.

When Lakeno Lightbourne walked into the interview session, the scholarship committee was instantly won over by his personable demeanor, bright personality, and passion for learning. The recent Sandilands Primary School graduate dreams of one day becoming a Bahamasair pilot, and enjoys reading, swimming, track and field and "moderating assemblies" at school. He will attend St. Augustine's College later this year, and notes that he is looking forward to meeting new people and starting high school level math classes. Lakeno describes his mother, Felicia Smith, as his role model and notes that she is very supportive and encourages him to challenge himself. 

Smith beams with pride when speaking about her son, and notes she always encourages Lakeno to be grateful and to work hard. She added that he is the first person in her immediate family to attend a private high school, and is excited to support her son throughout his academic journey. 

Lakeno and his mother both noted that they are extremely thankful to be a Bright Minds, Bright Future scholarship recipient, and the young student promises that he will "work hard to represent [Wendy's and Coca-Cola] well." He notes that during his time as Head Boy of Sandilands Primary, he took pride in being a school leader, and would constantly try to engage other students to make their experience more enjoyable. He hopes to do the same once he enters high school. 

Robynn Smith is the third 2020 Bright Minds, Bright Future scholarship recipient. The Sadie Curtis Primary School Head Girl will attend Queen's College in September, and is already looking forward to the future. She notes that her dream is to one day become a Cardiologist, and hopes to raise awareness about heart health and inform Bahamian women about preventative measures and the warning signs of heart disease. 

In addition to being a straight A student, Robynn has a keen interest in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) field, and took part in her school's Lego League where she worked along with a team to build and program a robot to perform simple commands. 

Robynn notes that she is most looking forward to the overall high school experience as well as her future Creative Writing classes, when school starts. She added that when she got the call from Wendy's and Coca-Cola that she had received the scholarship, she was "excited!" and "felt that [she] had accomplished something that will help [her] in [her] future". 

Veronica Sturrup, Robynn's aunt, noted that she too was "very excited and overwhelmed" with joy, by the good news. She noted that her niece worked very hard, and without the scholarship it would have been a challenge for the family to allow Robynn to attend a private high school. 

"Every time that we interview a new crop of Bright Minds, Bright Future applicants, the bar seems to get raised higher and higher" noted AnneMarie Romer, Aetos Holdings Limited Marketing Manager. "This year was no different. It was extremely difficult to choose just three winners, because we were truly impressed by every single student that we met. But, Robynn, Lakeno and Alice-Kristina did an awesome job. We look forward to following their high school journey, as they have promising lives ahead of them." 

Alice-Kristina, Lakeno & Robynn will all receive a full 6-year scholarship to the private high school of their choice, along with an annual book allowance. Over the years, the program has produced dozens of outstanding young scholars, many of whom have journeyed on to obtain high-level college degrees, and embarked on professional careers in The Bahamas.

"Each year that we interview the Bright Minds, Bright Future applicants, it seems that the students just get more exceptional" said Nikia Wells, Caribbean Bottling Company Communications Marketing Manager. "We interviewed some remarkable young men and women; they were not only intelligent, but mannerly, civic minded, laser focused, and just overall, great students. We were extremely proud to partner with the Wendy's team to award Alice-Kristina, Lakeno & Robynn with scholarships. And, I am truly excited to see who these extremely talented students will grow into in the future."

The Wendy's & Coca Cola Bright Minds, Bright Future Scholarship Program, was established in 1997, and allows both companies to consistently invest in the education and mentorship of some of The Bahamas' next generation of leaders.

"It is always nearly impossible to narrow down the Bright Minds, Bright Future applicants, but this year was particularly challenging" noted Gabriella Suighi, Caribbean Bottling Company Activations Marketing Manager. "Each and every candidate had something exceptional to offer, and I have no doubt that these students will thrive in their new schools."

The Wendy's & Coca Cola Bright Minds, Bright Future Scholarship Program is committed to helping children reach their fullest potential, through mentorship, nurturing, and the pursuit of academic excellence. Applicants are selected based on academic performance, individual financial need, involvement in community and/or civic service, extra curricular activities, and overall leadership potential.