15 Aug HER Story: 2018 AIM Higher Foundation Scholar, Shantae Shand

When asked about her philosophy on life, she replied: “Give it your all in the time that you’re given.”  And that she has done.  Shantae Shand, a 13th grade student at Campion College, will officially be attending Lafayette College, a prestigious liberal arts institution in the United States.  But the journey was anything but easy.

She remembers storming up creative ways to cover her tuition at Campion.  Not only did her parents and guidance counsellors contribute to the tuition and expenses, but she also used the prize money, which she won from various essay competitions, to contribute towards her school expenses.  Often, Ms. Rose, the guidance counsellor would also support her by providing lunch money. “I have done a lot of work on my own using the resources that are available to me.

Just this academic year [2017-2018] I was able to secure $100,000.00 from CranWATA to fully pay off my school fee and remove that financial burden from my single-mother. I was also able to secure a full-scholarship to the Yale Young Global Scholars Program where I got the chance to learn from world-class scientists and engineers and also interact with students from across 150 countries. I was also among the 14 students chosen from a total of approximately 500 students to participate in the YYGS Speaker Series.”  

 “I do everything because of family,” she remarked, but not only did she find a way to support her parents, she also found ways to be very involved outside of the classroom. Balance has been integral to her success. “I don’t feel fulfilled just going to school, studying for tests and getting good grades.  That can’t be all there is to school.  Mi nuh tink so, mi nuh tink a so it fi work.  I love to meet new people and when you are involved, you get to interact.” 


She played netball and basketball and was very involved in debating and beauty pageants.  In fact, she entered (and was crowned) Miss Campionite in 2016, and also entered Miss Teen Portmore and Miss Omni-Star.  She also served on the board of the National Secondary Students’ Council as the Public Relations Officer.  She stays involved because she loves meeting new people.

So given her strong ability to take initiative, it is not surprising that Shantae reached out to the director of AIM Educational Services, Nicole McLaren-Campbell, to ask for assistance in applying to college.  And the letter was remarkable. “I felt her intensity, and her desire, I felt very compelled, even though I had no idea who she was.  I felt her winning-ness,” Nicole remarked.  Yet Shantae humbly believes that her getting into college is a product of AIM’s philanthropic work: “I don’t think it would be fair to say that I chose AIM.  I think AIM chose me.”

In August of 2018, Shantae will begin her collegiate journey, aiming to pursue two bachelor’s degrees in International Relations and Civil Engineering.  She is quite excited for her journey, and is already looking forward to life after college and thinking about the kind of service and activism work she would like to do to give back to those in need.  “I want to do good and look good!” she chuckled half-jokingly.  We wish her all the best.