Rayal Grant aims to raise funds to attend Howard University

Rayal Grant -
Rayal Grant -

Rayal Grant has had many struggles in life. But he has managed to use the cards he was dealt to excel academically and has received a partial scholarship to Howard University in Washington DC.

The 19-year-old former Trinity College East student will receive US$17,000 annually, and has been trying to raise the rest to secure his place at the university.

"Unfortunately my family wasn't able, at the time, to cover the cost and we started to raise funds to pay the tuition. I was supposed to leave Trinidad on August 10, however my fundraising initiatives have not met its goal. It was a hard decision to make but I am in the process of deferring my application to next August. Hopefully with the added time, I can raise the money needed to attend," Grant told Newsday.

He said the annual cost for his tuition is US$65,000.

Grant is from Arima and said his struggles started when he was just eight years old.

The shy, soft-spoken teenager said, "The major struggle growing up was not being without both my parents. Although I don't remember much about her, my mother passed away when I was eight years old. My father passed away this year but he was never in my life. When my mother died, my grandmother took care of me but she passed away two years ago."

Grant now lives with his uncle and his family.

"They (my uncle and family) want to see me achieve my goals because they saw the emotional struggles."

He said his standard five teacher at Arima New Government Primary School was also a major part of his support system.

"Mr Coa, who eventually became principal, is now retired. Every day after school he would have free lessons for his students."

He was successful at CSEC and CAPE, in which he got all distinctions.

Grant said although he is disappointed that he will not be able to attend Howard this year, he looks at it as a little set back.

"My sisters, aunt uncle and Memphis Sports Foundation helped with the raising of most of the money. We held a cricket and football competition on Father's Day which MP Lisa Morris-Julian helped with making a reality. Most Saturdays my family and I try to sell barbecue and soup. On July 1 my dance club, Arima Dance Sport, held a recital to help with my cause."

He remains optimistic about attending Howard and his abilities to achieve his goals despite the challenges he has encountered.

Anyone wishing to assist can contact Rayal Grant at 486-7884.

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