By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
BY the time they leave the Bahamas this week, members of the faculty staff of Central State University are hoping that they can add some more Bahamian students and athletes to their programme in the state of Ohio.
Members of staff, accompanied by Bahamian Kim Hanna and Rupert Gardiner, were in town from Thursday and will be leaving on where they are trying to increase their enrolment to more than 100 Bahamians either on campus or now through their online programme.
They have been conducting recruiting sessions in the foyer of the Thomas A Robinson National Stadium for those interested.
Jahan Culbreath, leading the delegation from Central State University, headed by Dr Jack Thomas said when he first came here as the Athletic Director with their Marauder football team in 2015, he said met then Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe and the Minister of Education to form a Memorandum of Understanding that started off with a Public Schools Scholar Program combined scholarship between the ministry and the school.
“We started with ten Bahamian students. It grew the next year to 20, then 30 and it kept growing,” said Culbreath, of the PSSA program, which was originally focused on just the public schools. “We also recruit private school students. But what makes this a great programme from a financial standpoint, we are very affordable.
“Central State is one of the most affordable schools in the United States and the most affordable in the state of Ohio. So it makes it relatively easy when you combine the two scholarships. It almost puts a student on full scholarship. There are some minimum fees attached to it.”
The program has also been extended to student of BAMSA, which makes The Bahamas the second home for Central State. Hopefully, the Marauder Athletic Department will be back to conduct some training camps for athletes in the future.
While they host to booster their compliment of Bahamians on their marching band, Central State is also looking at increasing the participation of student/athletes on their flourishing Marauder athletic teams, including track and field, volleyball.
Currently on the women’s track team, coached by Elliot Lightfoot, are senior Danielle Rodgers from St Anne’s; junior Tyler Lightbourne from Queen’s College and sophomore Glennae Forbes from Grand Bahama. On the men’s team are seniors Emmit Higgins and Ishmael Williamson, both from Bishop Michael Eldon; freshman Juwan Rigby from Tabernacle Baptist; junior Lavano Sands and freshman Jaheim Wilson, both from CV Bethel.
On the men’s volleyball team, coached by Ray Lewis, is freshman Tyrone Sands from CC Sweeting High.
Athletic Director Tara Owens said they have been extremely pleased with the talent they acquired from The Bahamas and are always looking to recruit those who are willing to make Central State University their choice.
“I think the Bahamian population is so essential. I think they bring so much to our campus,” Evans said. “The student-athletes come prepared. They are ready to work academically. They work hard on and off the field.
“They bring so much of their culture to the campus and they get to share their stories, hence we like coming to The Bahamas and do our recruiting. We want to get as many Bahamians on our roster as possible.”
Owens said they love their Bahamian population that they want to see it double and triple the size that is presently there.
Dr Ariethia McSwain, the chief online officer at Central State University, said her legacy is to be in a position to assist as many persons to get a college education and with the introduction of their online programme, she can help so many who won’t have the financial means to do it in person as a student.
“I’ve always had an interest in Bahamian students, having been here for five years, coming back and forth,” McSwain said. “I knew the commitment that Bahamian students had and their parents had in valuing their educational pursuits.
“So this is a great way to get them to become of our institution, even if they can’t afford the means to be a part of our campus. We are so proud that so many people have been here inquiring about how they can be a part of our programme.”
Hanna, the Bahamian representative, encouraged Bahamians interested in learning more about their enrolment at Central State University, to contact her email@example.com. She noted that they were able to recruit at least two students from Cat Island to be a part of the PSSA programme.
“It’s a pleasure to have them here, especially with virtual zone calls so that we can not only meet with persons in New Providence, but also from Grand Bahama and the Family Islands,” Hanna said. “We want to ensure that we can reach as many persons as possible to get them enrolled in the programme.