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2022 CACAO Scholarship Recipients

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Hadassah Meralus from Haiti  an upcoming sophomore, Criminal Justice major at Alabama A&M University

Shakaye Haase from Jamaica currently pursuing a PhD in Clinical/Medical Psychology at the University of Alabama Birmingham 


The 2021 CACAO Recipient

The 2021 CACAO recipient is Ryshae Whyms from the Bahamas. 

Ryshae is a student at UAB where she is studying Digital Forensics. 

Central Alabama Caribbean American Organization (CACAO) Scholarships


The Central Alabama Caribbean American Organization (CACAO) is a resource to Caribbean students attending colleges in Central Alabama. CACAO has been awarding scholarships to students of Caribbean heritage since 2015. This year, I am pleased to announce that CACAO is awarding three $1000.00 scholarships to deserving students. These scholarships called the Pauline J Ford-Caesar scholarships are meant to honor the hard work and dedication of our CACAO Founder and current President, Ms. Pauline J Ford-Caesar. Ms. Ford-Caesar, is a native of Jamaica and a graduate of the University of Alabama Huntsville with a degree and significant accomplishments in the field in Communications. She has been a tireless ambassador in promoting Caribbean culture. She has spearheaded activities such as the Caribbean festival held during Caribbean Heritage month in June of each year and is an active participant in the planning of the annual Christmas fundraising dinner dance. She has been awarded the 2014 Motivating Woman Award from the Birmingham International Center, the 2018 Citizen Diplomat Award and was a finalist in the 2020 Remarkable Women award from CBS 42. 


Our 2020 Pauline J Ford-Caesar scholarship recipients have expressed willingness to serve as CACAO Ambassadors to help promote the mission of the organization throughout the year. This includes sharing the Caribbean culture and promoting diversity and inclusion within the Central Alabama community and its surrounding areas.

Past Recipients

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Ms. Sarena Springer is of Barbadian and Jamaican parentage. She is a sophomore majoring in Biology and minoring in entrepreneurship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a GPA of 3.91. Sarena was inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society based on her high academic performance. She has also been inducted into the Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Honor Society. Upon graduation, Sarena plans to attend medical school and specialize in dermatology. She comes highly recommended from Dr. Layne Edward A. Layne, former Honorary Counsel for Barbados who wrote: “While in high school, Serena insisted on obtaining a broad-based education that included community service, early childhood education, health and fire safety, and youth leadership, knowing that she would need this foundation for her future career in healthcare”. Sarena’s service and leadership activities include serving as Camp Counselor, Oconee County Summer Camp, Watkinsville, Georgia and Teaching Assistant, Oconee County Primary School. She received Oconee Youth Leadership Achievement Award. In her statement Sarena wrote “I love to serve others and staying involved in my communities. My purpose is to help and serve others. Although achieving all my goals will contain hard work, I am determined to accomplish them all”. Please join me in awarding one of the 2020 Pauline J Ford-Caesar Scholarships to Ms. Sarena Springer! 

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Ms. Sydney Clarke is of Bahamian parentage. Sydney is a freshman majoring in business at the University of Alabama at Birmingham with an expected GPA above 3.0. She desires to be an entrepreneur and a professional tennis player.

She is a member of the UAB Women’s Tennis team and was highly recommended by the Head Tennis Coach Mark Tjia who wrote “Sydney stands out as a great supportive teammate who brings a positive and cheerful energy to daily practices and interactions with her teammates and coaches... She brings a great work ethic with her both to the court and in the classroom. Sydney’s positivity, engaging personality, responsibility and unselfishness I believe would make her a wonderful ambassador for your organization.” Sydney’s civic and community activities include working at the Ronald McDonald House, the Grace House Pumpkin Festival, Down ’s Syndrome Awareness Smile-A-Mile program, St. Paul’s Episcopal School Hurricane Sally Sock Drive. In her statement Sydney wrote “I am focused on continuing to make myself a role model for others while leaving positive marks at each new step in my life. Finally, I want to further my education so I can make positive impacts on my country as well as on the world”. Please join me in awarding the 2020 Pauline J Ford-Caesar Scholarship to Ms. Sydney Clarke!

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Mr. David Edmondson is a Jamaican and a sophomore in Mechanical Engineering at Auburn University. David is an outstanding student with a solid GPA of 4.0. He was on the Dean’s List in the fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters! David is a member of the Auburn University Track and Field Team and has been on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll and the First Year Honor Roll for SEC Athletes. His leadership activities include mentoring freshmen student athletes and participating in Auburn University’s CONNECT program, a leadership building initiative for student athletes. 



David has been highly recommended by a Lecturer in Finance at Auburn who wrote that David possesses a heightened sense of drive, perseverance and motivation. In his essay David wrote” I am positive that wherever I end up, I will proudly fly my Caribbean banner, showing the world that island people aren’t simple and laid back at all, but diligent, ingenious workers who have the ability to make a difference in the world. There is an urge inside that calls me to be different, to stand out in a positive light, prevail through any adversary and find solutions to the problems faced by myself and others each day.” Please join me in awarding the 2020 Pauline J Ford-Caesar Scholarship to Mr. David Edmonson!

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