JIS News

Eighteen-year-old LaToya Ottley is the 2006/2007 recipient of the Arts and Culture Jamaica (ACJAM) Scholarship Award.
The presentation was made to the first-year York University student by ACJAM’s founder, Paula de Ronde, at the organization’s recent Christmas bazaar held at the Jamaican Consulate General in Toronto, Canada.
Mrs. de Ronde said LaToya was very deserving of the award, which is given to talented young people of Jamaican heritage, who are pursuing studies in the arts. LaToya, a Communications Arts student, has been a member of the award-winning Toronto Children’s Concert Choir and Performing Arts Company (TC3) since 2001. As a section leader, she is responsible for a group of her peers and acts as ‘big sister’ to younger members.
LaToya has the honour of performing for former Prime Minister of Canada, Paul Martin, and former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Lincoln Alexander.
While attending Pope John Paul II high school, she not only performed well in the traditional subjects, she also excelled in dance, music and vocal jazz. A well-rounded student, she was also elected to the student council board and represented her school in track and field.
LaToya is a recipient of many awards including first place in the vocal competition at a music festival organized by the New Conservatory of Music and second place in the Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations’ (AJAA) Essay Competition.
ACJAM President Cherita Girvan Campbell, in her remarks, thanked the gathering for their support of the organization’s activities throughout the year, which included “showcasing internationally renowned authors Olive Senior and Colin Channer, and artist, art therapist and writer Vivienne Burnett”.
She called on the audience to maintain the support in 2007, as ACJAM continued its mandate of showcasing and promoting the “unique arts and culture of Jamaica”.
Highlights of the evening included a tribute to the late Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley, a patron of ACJAM. Pat Wade had the audience laughing with her recitations of several of Miss Lou’s poems, Pam Foster read a poem she wrote in honour of the late cultural icon, authors Pam Mordecai and Jennifer Walcott read from their latest books, while Phyllis Walker told an Anansi story.
Former ACJAM scholarship award winners Byron Beckford and David Espeut Jr. also performed. Byron, a dancer attending the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and scholarship recipient in 2004/2005, performed an interpretive dance to Bob Marley’s Redemption Song, while David, a music major at the University of Toronto and last year’s recipient, played the saxophone and sang.
On sale were Jamaican books, photographs by Heather Bubb-Clarke and paintings by artist Philemon Campbell.