When St. Jago High School student Alcia Brown was chosen by her teachers and principal to represent her school and the country at the 2012 Global Youth Leaders Conference (GYLC) in the United States, she was delighted and proud.
The bright 18-year old, who exudes self-confidence, says the honour means a lot to her and her family.
“I was ecstatic. I consider it an honour, and I am preparing myself to ensure I represent my school and country well. My family and friends are humbled by it and are behind me one hundred per cent,” she tells JIS News.
The annual summer conference, held at venues across the United States, China and Europe, is a unique leadership development programme that brings together outstanding young people from around the world, to build critical leadership skills within a global context. Students are chosen to attend based on their leadership at school and in the wider community.
Held since 1985, the conference offers students an opportunity to learn from and exchange ideas with some of the world’s top business leaders, policy officials, lobbyists, journalists, diplomats and academics. To date, more than 200,000 young people, 15 to 18 years old, from some 100 countries, have participated.
Alcia was selected for the June 26 to July 4 programme in Washington, DC and New York, and is eager to attend, noting that previous attendees from her school have related that they have learnt how to better interact and function in different social settings.
“Their cultural awareness has improved because of the mixing and mingling with individuals from over 100 countries across the world. It focuses on social issues that affect nations, and there is emphasis on good leadership qualities,” she says.
But, benefitting from such interaction and exchange comes at a cost, as Alcia is required to pay her own registration and tuition fees, and airfare. She says that her family is helping but she needs more support and is looking to corporate Jamaica for assistance.
“I have received assistance from one sponsor so far and that covered my deposit. However, I need much more money to cover the remaining costs, which is approximately $200,000,” she tells JIS News.
The Deputy Head Girl has won many awards, including the prestigious Oswald Powell award for excellence in the 2010 Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) tests, and is very involved in the school, church and community. She is President of the school’s debate and literary arts society; Public Relations Officer of the student librarian body; Secretary of the sixth form association; and is a member of the environmental network, science and technology club, inter-schools Christian fellowship, and the sign language club.
With a self-assurance born from accomplishment, Alcia argues that it is important that outstanding students, such as herself, are given every opportunity to excel and realise their true potential, noting that this augers well for the country’s development.
“I believe that an exceptional student should be given the opportunity to be phenomenal. When you see potential, I think it is good for someone to assist in fostering that growth and I believe I am someone, who is on the path to becoming a reputable person in society,” she says.
Alcia, who plans to contribute to the development of the country in the field of pharmacology, says she is inspired by her family, who has instilled in her “a sense of greatness."
“I was always told that greatness is in your seed. You are not ordinary and do not be ordinary,” she tells JIS News
Her mother Gloreen Brown, who describes Alcia as a “go-getter”, says she is eager for her to attend the conference, noting that, “it will enhance her deportment, development, and what we already see in her as an exceptional individual."
Her older brother, Jason Brown, a first-year student at the Mico University College, expresses pride at his sister’s accomplishments, noting that she is a leader.
“I’m very proud of her, she works hard and I’m glad she was granted this opportunity. She’s really a leader. Sometimes, people think I’m the younger one because of how she takes the leadership role in situations,” Jason tells JIS News.
Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), Donna-Marie Rowe, who is a friend of the family, is also appealing for assistance on Alcia's behalf.
“I have known Alcia since she was a child and I am extremely proud of her accomplishments. We share the same alma mater, St. Jago High, and I am confident that she will make us proud as Jamaicans when she represents us at the conference. This is an opportunity of a lifetime for her and I hope she will benefit from strong sponsorship to make her travel possible,” she says.
Persons or organisations wishing to assist can contact Principal of St. Jago High School, Sandra Swyer-Watson at 984-4312.
By Christine Ade-Gold