Double joy

Johnathan Cumberbatch and Jebarri Cumberbatch have done what many parents dream of for their children as both are recipients of scholarships.

Jebarri, a former student of Combermere School, was offered an athletic scholarship to Eastern Oregon University in 2015. His older brother Johnathan, a former student of Queen’s College and The University of the West Indies, was awarded a scholarship to China where he will be studying a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Economics and Management at the Central University of Finance and Economics.

Barbados TODAY conducted an interview with Jebarri and Johnathan to assess how they feel now that both have received scholarships.

BT: Describe how it felt when you found out that you won a scholarship?

Jebarri:  I felt good about it, I could gain an opportunity that many people do not get to experience. It brings a feeling of accomplishment that you are making steps in the right direction to attain a desired goal.

Johnathan:  I was happy and overjoyed that I got selected and humbled because of the amount of people worldwide who applied. I also felt humbled because I am getting a chance that not even some Chinese people get. I am also nervous and I have been for a few days because I am going to the next side of the world with no language training and being away from home alone for the first time.

BT: Was the feeling intensified as both of you won scholarships under the same household?

Jebarri:  It’s a good feeling not just for me but for my family, my parents especially and my brothers. It shows them that all the sacrifices they made were worthwhile and it creates motivation for your siblings because they want to obtain the same opportunities and it drives them to do more and work harder.

Johnathan: It is a great feeling. First, that I get to see Jebarri can get out and be able to go to school and run as well. Like he said it’s not something that too many people get to do. For me I’m overjoyed. I know our mom is proud and it is going to create an atmosphere where all of us want to do better.

 BT: How does it feel being on Scholarship?

Jebarri: Being on scholarship is an experience that is best described through physical encounters. Until you are in the situation it’s hard to imagine how it feels. Personally, it’s reassuring, everything you’ve thought of, the sacrifice, the work you’ve put in, it all feels like one big reward.

It also brings freedom in some instances, well I should use the word independence.

You now find yourself in a situation where you must make your own decisions. Yes, your parents are there in some cases via phone call etc., but in the moment or time, your decisions matter because they only affect you and you must live with the consequences.

Johnathan:  I look forward to experiencing this. Also, not having to answer your parents or anyone for that matter. It forces you to grow up to survive basically.

BT: Jebarri you transferred from one college to another can you tell me why?

Jebarri:  I transferred schools because I received a better offer. I was previously at Eastern Oregon University but now I am enrolled in Southeastern Louisiana University. My first offer was a partial scholarship at Eastern Oregon University, where I paid money out of pocket for some parts of school. This year the coach at South Eastern Louisiana University offered me a scholarship covering all my tuition books and fees. All I pay for are my flights home and to school over breaks and my apartment. Everything else is covered by scholarship.

BT: What are you studying or going to study?

Jebarri:  My degree is in kinesiology which is basically biomechanics and body function.

Johnathan: I am going to study Sports Economics and Management.

BT: What are your plans for the future?

Jebarri:  I am working on a plan to have my Masters paid for and go to graduate school right away. I also want to go professional with my athletic career, but that would be determined by my next three seasons. If that doesn’t work out then I would look to coach here in the [United States of America] or coach athletic training.

Johnathan:  Well my plan is multi-phased. The first thing is obviously to get fluent in Mandarin and then get my degree. The next part is to come up with a plan for Government to build a sports academy here. I also plan on being a bridge between Barbados and China in terms of building investment opportunities in various sectors including sport. Biggest of all I want to see if I can find a way to put the expertise I gain along with Jebarri’s and create a sports oriented business.

BT: Jebarri you spoke about your athletic career being determined by the next three seasons can you explain?

Jebarri: Based on my development and my times in my respective events would determine if I am able to turn professional and my ability to make national teams. For example, the upcoming season, if I can qualify for NCAC U23 and I exceed the qualifying time of 10:45 say I ran 10:35 and I run that time consistently then I know within the next two seasons with the right work I could run 10.1 – 10.0 maybe a 9.9. Within those time ranges, I can secure myself a good contract with one of the three major sporting brands. Those times can also make the finals of international meets such as World Championships, the Olympics and Diamond League meets.

BT: What advice would you give to young men?

Jebarri:  If you really want something don’t let anything stop you from achieving it and make the most of the opportunities that you are given.

Johnathan:  Don’t be afraid of failure. Because failure is what causes you to be better. So, if you give up at the first hurdle you haven’t achieved anything. (LG)

27 Responses to Double joy

  1. Sheldine Dyall
    Sheldine Dyall September 2, 2017 at 7:39 pm


  2. Nikolai Gibson
    Nikolai Gibson September 2, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Glad to see youth in the papers for positive reasons.

  3. Jennifer Phillips
    Jennifer Phillips September 2, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    Congrats young men

  4. Marvo Burke
    Marvo Burke September 2, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    I am so proud of these two young men. I have the honour and privilege of speaking to them on a regular basis, as we discuss their plans and how best to make them work. They are prepared to put in the effort necessary to achieve their goals and nothing stands in their way. They never lose hope no matter the obstacles they face and as a matter of fact, they just get even more determined. I know that success awaits them. My guys!

  5. Juan Waithe-Lashley
    Juan Waithe-Lashley September 2, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    Congratulations to you both. Blessings

  6. Mary Miller
    Mary Miller September 2, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Go get them guys! You should be so proud!

  7. Candace Miller
    Candace Miller September 2, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Feeling proud, feeling proud, positive, positive vibes. This is a cause for celebration. May God’s blessings continue to shine on these young Men, may they be an inspiration to others. Hoping that the youngster reading this article will gather the strength and courage and dream of accomplishing goals. Continue success.

  8. Diana Cummins
    Diana Cummins September 2, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Congrats,continue to soar high,as they say,reach for the stars.

  9. Nikky Daisley
    Nikky Daisley September 2, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Congrats to you both hats off to you God bless

  10. Yvette Reid
    Yvette Reid September 2, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Congrats! Stay focus…

  11. Gail Agard Wallace
    Gail Agard Wallace September 2, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Good work. Great goals. Love to see positive stories !

  12. Fay Joseph
    Fay Joseph September 2, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Congratulations, I love to see my young people in a positive way in the news,Kudos to you both.

  13. Pat BB
    Pat BB September 2, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    Finally some positive news from young men..
    Congrats guys!!

  14. Marcella King
    Marcella King September 3, 2017 at 12:07 am

    Congrats to the both of you

  15. Trudy Allen
    Trudy Allen September 3, 2017 at 12:49 am

    Congratulations to you both xxx

  16. Epaphras D. Williams
    Epaphras D. Williams September 3, 2017 at 1:41 am


  17. Suzette Clarke
    Suzette Clarke September 3, 2017 at 4:39 am

    It’s very refreshing to see a positive article about two young, black males for a change. The news has been quite depressing lately. Best wishes for your future endeavours.

  18. Asha Skeete
    Asha Skeete September 3, 2017 at 5:53 am

    CONGRATS TO YOU BOTH !!!! Wishing you God’s guidance and blessings of success in all of your respective endeavours. Be safe and stay healthy .

  19. Sheron Inniss September 3, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Congratulations. You made my heart sing this morning. GOD’s continued blessings. Your parents must be doing something right and all the other support groups you have had.

    It is so good to hear young people speaking so positively and more so matching with the actions.

    Keep on keeping on. You are our future. Blessings once again.

  20. Tony Webster September 3, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Congrats and Blessings, guys. Remember to “pass the baton” to those following!

  21. Wendy Butcher
    Wendy Butcher September 3, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Feels so good to hear good news God bless you both may you experience God’s blessings

  22. nanci September 3, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    why he had to go all to china to study sports management, why not in the US or Canada, good luck dealing with those chinese people, and be careful eating their foods, they cook rats and mice, and I dont think they like blacks. The students couldve even study sports management in barbados or Trinidad, but I wont trust those chinese people. The laws are very strict, and one mistake and they take you off to their hell prisons.

    • Johnathan September 3, 2017 at 8:53 pm

      Why I chose China:

      1. An educational opportunity which i would pay very little for was offered and I accepted it.

      2. Studying in the US, Canada, UK, Trinidad and even here is too cost prohibitive to make it worthwhile. I also wanted something non-traditional that would push me to be the best.

      3. With the specific aims I have after I complete my degree, China is the best place for me to achieve those aims.

      4. I get to learn a language that gives me a competitive advantage anywhere in the world.

      5. With my background in Political Science and Law, I am keen to see how the Chinese political system works in person.

      I am always careful in what I eat but given that my university is one accredited to host international students I am not that worried about rat or mice being cooked for me. Further the idea that all Chinese do not like black people is a massive misconception. Even if they are racist, racism is something I would have to confront whether I was here in the Caribbean, the US, UK or Canada. Last I am a law abiding citizen. I am not going to cause mischief but to study. I am well aware of the penalties for crimes such as drug smuggling. So even if that was my intention just the penalties alone would make me reconsider. I hope that this serves to answer your questions.

  23. Talia Morris
    Talia Morris September 3, 2017 at 6:37 pm


  24. nanci September 4, 2017 at 6:34 am

    jonathan you a very smart guy, its always good to let someone show you the other side of the river, but good you answer back. Oftentimes the good kids get the bad luck, so good you are well aware of the facts and customs of china. I am sure you will make barbados proud.

  25. jm September 4, 2017 at 10:09 am

    you go guys!…”knock the bottom out that mother#$@%!”
    God…I wish I had a lump some of money; or something, to give you guys for spending. Things are still expensive in China.

    This is good news

  26. Janel Howell September 4, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Congratulations. I love your maturity


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