TORONTO — The Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations (AJAA) in Canada recently hosted a reception for graduating Ontario high school students of Jamaican heritage, who will be pursuing tertiary education.
Approximately 45 students turned out to receive certificates, which were presented by Ontario Minister of Health Promotion, Jamaican-born Margarett Best, at a ceremony held at the Jamaican Canadian Centre in Toronto.
Seven of the students also received bursaries for their scholastic achievements by representatives from member associations of the AJAA.
They are Cecilia Thompson, sponsored by the Knox Association of Past Students and St. Jago Alumni Association, who will be studying Criminology at York University; Cereise Ross, sponsored by Rusea’s Old Students Association, who will be studying International Development at the University of the West Indies; Guilliam Morgan, a past student of St. George’s College in Kingston, who will be pursuing Chemical Engineering at Ryerson University and was sponsored by Wolmers Alumni Association.
The others are: Lekeeya Kinghorn, who will be attending York University and was sponsored by the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) Graduate Nurses Association; Akilah Jenkins, who will be studying Commerce at Ryerson University and has been sponsored by Cornwall College Old Boys Association; DeiJaumar Clarke, who will be pursuing studies at York University, was sponsored by Holmwood Past Students Association; while Tiwana Anderson is sponsored by the AJAA and will be pursuing further studies at the University of Western Ontario.
Also receiving first and second place prizes, respectively for winning the Essay Writing Competition sponsored by Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS), were Lloyd Wright, who will be pursuing Arts and Film Studies at Brock University; and Shardae Barclay, who intends to study Psychology at the University of Toronto.
Principal of Toronto’s first Afrocentric Alternative School, Thando Hyman-Aman, encouraged the students to pursue higher education, reminding them that choice, not circumstances, will determine their success.
The educator, who is also of Jamaican heritage, also urged the students to shun mediocrity and always pursue excellence.
President of the AJAA, Michael Hylton, noted that the organisation and all its member associations are committed to students in Jamaica and Canada. He told the graduates not to become complacent but to seek loftier goals.
Second Vice-President of the AJAA and Coordinator of the event, Olive Parkins-Smith, pointed out that the organisation’s goal is to help the students over the next hurdle in their education career.
To the students, she told them that they are all winners and this is the beginning of a new chapter filled with limitless opportunities.
Lloyd Wright, who responded on behalf of the awardees, noted that behind every successful student is someone who cares. “We appreciate the fact that our parents have given us roots and wings. It is now our time to fly,” he said.
By CAROLYN GOULBOURNE-WARREN, JIS Reporter