Black Immigrant Daily News
Olympic sprint relay gold medallist Briana Williams has awarded scholarships to three Excelsior High School student-athletes valued at $210,000.
Following a Christmas treat that the 20-year-old staged for residents of Paradise and its surrounding communities in Montego Bay in December, Williams will now provide $70,000 each in scholarships to Shakira Rhoden, Shelly-Ann Taylor, and Janelia Williams.
Kayla Harris was among the three recipients but passed on her scholarship to Janelia Williams.
The athletes caught Briana’s attention through a story in the press following the team’s victory at the Corporate Area Development Meet in 2022. In the story, they stated that the multiple Carifta Games gold medalist was a role model.
“I was so honoured last year when I read the article in the newspaper stating that I inspire these girls. I wanted to meet them. I wanted to support their academic journey,” said Briana who moved from her base in the USA last September to Jamaica to join Titans International Track Club in Kingston.
The scholarships were made possible through Briana’s sponsor GraceKennedy Limited and will be disbursed to the school to cover the cost of books, tuition, and other necessities for the 2023 academic year.
“I am committed to giving back to athletes in Jamaica because I know what it’s like. It’s not easy being a student-athlete.” Briana shared. “My sponsor GraceKennedy and I will make this an annual scholarship to deserving student-athletes who showcase their athletic talents and are also having good grades.”
She encouraged other track and field athletes from the school to remain committed to the sport.
“We are committed to helping the next generation in this sport and I want to encourage you to work hard and don’t let anybody quell your dreams,” she said. “Put in the work, listen to your teachers, your coaches and rewrite your goals and recite them every day, and don’t give up.”
In 2020, Briana provided 25 tablets to student-athletes who were forced to attend classes from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also donated furniture and school supplies to educator Stacey-Ann Donaldson who has a reading and homework centre in Rose Gardens, Kingston.
Briana ran the first leg of Jamaica’s gold medal 4x100m team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (held in 2021). She also won silver as part of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Oregon.