VALENTINES Residences Resort and Marina embodies the picturesque tranquility of life in Harbour Island, Eleuthera, but the exotic enclave has also captured the world's attention for its standard of excellence. The skills and diligence of the people who work there have helped to set that benchmark.
Managing director Dean Spychalla believes that human capital will continue to fuel success for the resort and the island. This is why he came up with the idea of funding scholarships at University of The Bahamas (UB), specifically for scholars from Harbour Island.
Principals of the resort have signed an MOU for the Valentines Residences Resort and Marina Endowed Educational Fund for an entrance and in-course scholarship award programme at UB, an investment of $100,000.
With an endowed scholarship programme, financing for academic scholarships is more sustainable. Initially, two students from Harbour Island - one male and one female - will be funded annually for up to four years with the aim of eventually funding 10 students and even more as the years progress.
Scholars will also be provided with the opportunity to complete internships at the resort and participate in other professional development and community engagement opportunities before graduating from UB. The internship will not be restricted to any particular professional designation. The scholars will be known as the Valentines Residences Resort and Marina ambassadors.
"We do hope that they will return to the island and help us to grow the economy of 84 per cent of the land mass of the country," said Mr Spychalla, referring to the islands outside New Providence.
UB President Dr Rodney Smith expressed his gratitude for this newest investment in higher learning. UB has a student population of approximately 5,000 and an alumni base of about 17,000.
"This MOU came about as a result of Mr Sypchalla's very keen interest in the UB scholarship and donor process. He shares a very strong sense of commitment to education and our students," Dr Smith said.
"We look forward to this continuing relationship for many, many years to come."
Mr Spychalla is enthused about the prospect of expanding the pool of skilled professionals from the Family Islands who would help to make their respective economies more robust.
A member of the Bahama Out Islands Promotion Board (BOIPB), Valentines Residences Resort and Marina offers one of the best sport fishing locations in the Caribbean region. In 2015, it earned the World Travel Award for The Bahamas' Leading Marina. It is also the first BOIPB property to have individually initiated endowed scholarships at UB.
Today it continues to demonstrate its leadership by solidifying a partnership that will benefit Harbour Island for years to come.