MIAMI — Former students of Westwood High School, Stewart Town, Trelawny, have joined the ranks of alumni associations in South Florida representing alma maters in Jamaica, through the recent launch of the South Florida Westwood Old Girls Association (SFCWOGA).
Through SFCWOGA, the initial team of 20 members will unite with other chapters already established in Jamaica, Atlanta and New York, around a common cause, which is to support alma mater and its enrolment of nearly 750 students.
President of the newly formed South Florida chapter, Melaine Thompson, noted that following several meetings and an aggressive membership drive, the association was officially established earlier this month with a traditional candle lighting ceremony cementing their relationship, as they embarked on a mission to assist in the development of their alma mater.
They have set as their first goal to award two student scholarships for the upcoming school year, 2011-2012. Ms. Thompson also said that the ‘Jippi Jappa sisters’, along with their sister chapters in New York and Atlanta, have joined forces for shared objectives, primarily to promote a positive learning environment through development projects, mentoring and assistance to the Westwood family, past and present.
Principal of the institution, Karen Francis, who is also a 1987 graduate of the 130 years old institution, noted that it has continued to be a trailblazer in academic achievements, especially the sciences, mathematics and English.
Last year, the school was first in the Caribbean in the Sciences – human and social biology. They were top achievers in 2009, in physics. Earlier this year chemistry teacher, Orlando Gayle, received the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) Teacher of the Year award, from the Association of Science Teachers, Jamaica, for outstanding service. The school simultaneously earned top place at the National Science Fair.
The students have also earned medals from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) in cultural programmes including culinary arts, music and speech.
Ms. Francis commended the alumni chapters for their continued support and assistance in the school’s development and modernization programme.
Jamaica’s Consul General, Sandra Grant Griffiths, lauded the efforts of the alumni associations in the overseas communities. According to her, the commitment and dedication of community associations within the Diaspora was crucial to preparing Jamaica’s youths for the future.
Also supporting the launch were Presidents of the sister chapters, including Andrea Crossfield, Jamaica; Ann Crawford, New York; and Beverley Vassell, Atlanta.
By Cheryl Wynter, JIS Reporter