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The Jamaican American Connection Inc.

(JAC) was founded in the summer of 2010.

JAC's purpose is to celebrate and preserve the unique Jamaican culture

and to promote the positive values and traditions of its people . 

In furtherance of the purpose, JAC created the Trailblazer Scholarship.

One $1500 Award

Two Book Awards @ $500 each

One $500 Leroy "Breadman" Maraugh Book Award

Please see JAC'S Scholarship Application Guidelines Below:

2023 Trailblazer Scholarship Amounts:

Meet our 2022 Trailblazer Scholars

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Kayla Smith

 My name is Kayla Smith.  I am currently a freshman at Quinnipiac University. My entire family grew up in Jamaica, but my hometown is Middletown, CT. I’m majoring in Nursing since I plan on becoming a traveling nurse and then becoming an APRN after obtaining my master’s degree. I have been very passionate about nursing since I was a little girl, so I know that this career is the one for me. Achieving my goals is something I’ve dedicated my life to, especially during my journey throughout high school where I was greatly the opportunity to become a Medical Assistant which I am currently. Unfortunately, my grandmother cannot witness my achievements and accomplishments, so I dedicate all of my hard work and wins to her! She is one of the biggest influences when it comes to why I want to become a traveling nurse/ APRN so just remembering her keeps me motivated at all times. I am so thankful to have the support of my family members and thanks to my parents for raising me to have manners and teaching me how I should treat not just my elders but everyone around me equally. Jamaican culture has shaped me into the young lady that I am today because of the reasons mentioned above. Knowing how to conduct myself and interact with others has definitely got me to the point where I am now, and I would not change anything about my childhood and/or the lessons I was taught within my Jamaican household.

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Tara Malcolm

Tara Malcolm was born and grew up in the city of New Haven. She is a bright and bubbly person who is often found with her nose buried in a book. She is the youngest of four and has a passion for traveling and learning. She attended kindergarten and elementary schools in the city. Tara also attended James Hillhouse High School in June 2022 and is currently in her freshman year at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU). Tara enjoys signing and has been a member of local choirs sponsored by Yale School of Music. She has also assisted in Sunday School classes at First Baptist Church New Haven for many years. She also did voluntary work with R Kids in New Haven. Tara loves to write and enjoys music, including Jamaican and other Caribbean genres. Tara is the product of Jamaican parents and enjoys visiting the island regularly to see family and bask in the rich culture. Over the years, Tara has attended shows and other cultural events hosted by JAC and have benefited from the work of this association. Tara plans to major in Social Work at SCSU and plans to work with adolescents as a career.

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Jaye-Ann Walters

My name is Jaye-Ann Walters. I am currently attending the University of Bridgeport and I am in my freshman year of college. My major is nursing and would like to become a NICU nurse. When I first moved to America, it was completely different from what I was used to. I did not have to wear uniforms anymore, everyone spoke "American English", and the schools up here were much different from the ones in Jamaica. When I first started school here, the first thing I thought about was how I had no friends anymore. I was used to having a lot of friends and family around me at all times, which is why it was a big adjustment for me. Having such a big change at a young age, I tried to adapt to this new environment in any way necessary. As I started making friends, I realized how I kept changing my personality just to fit in with other people. I was slowly drifting away from my culture and creating a facade for everyone to see. As we grow up, we don’t realize what an opportunity it is to be raised in a Jamaican household and as we get older, we realize how much our parents instilled in us. My parents taught me respect, especially towards my elders, greeting everyone as soon as you walk into a room. How to treat everyone with kindness and be on your best behavior when you are out because you are not only representing yourself, but you are also representing your family as well as your country. Working hard in school because we are getting an opportunity some people wish they were able to have. Eight years later and I feel like I have improved so much since 2014, I got a chance to come to the states and make a difference. I am glad that I was raised with respect and values that were taught to me by my parents. Being a part of my community allows me to show how far we can go and how much we can overcome. Never try to fit in with a group of people who are okay with your facade, your true friends are the ones that are okay with the real you. Like the saying " A far we a come from and a far we a go".

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