Consul General Lauds Merl Grove Canadian Alumni Association


Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Anne-Marie Bonner, has lauded the achievements of the Canadian chapter of the Merl Grove Past Students Association.
Speaking at the group’s eighth annual fundraising banquet held recently at the Jamaican Canadian Centre in Toronto, Ms. Bonner said the organization has been nurtured by a talented and dedicated alumni, and has overcome the many challenges faced by any new organization.
“Your group has weathered the storms and is now on sound foundation where it can grow from strength to strength,” she said. Noting that Merl Grove had humble beginnings in a small house with 30 students in 1919, the Consul General stated that the school is now an established and well-respected institution, providing excellent education to many students.
Ms. Bonner praised the members for persevering and playing their part in the continued development of the school.
“As the school grows, so does the support that it needs to ensure that it continues on the path of excellence,” she said.
In 2004, the Alumni association established the J. Barbara Martin Scholarship, named in honour of the late former principal. It is given annually to a second form student, who is a high achiever, but is in dire need of financial assistance. So far eight students have been recipients of the funds. The financial assistance pays the students’ school fees, and pays for books, uniforms, lunch, and transportation expenses all the way through to their final year.
The first recipient, 17-year-old Danielle Watson, who is graduating this year, was on hand to thank the sponsors and all those who continually support the organization’s activities.
Vice-President of the Alumni Association, Althea Hamilton-McKenzie, said Danielle fulfilled all the criteria for maintaining the scholarship from second to fifth form, which included, “an above average grade in her studies, involvement in her school community, and carrying herself as befitting a true lady.”
“There is one thing our committee members have in common and it is the tremendous passion for our cause,” continued Mrs. Hamilton-McKenzie. “We cannot give up regardless of what obstacles we face. There are many more students to help and so we have to go on.”
Meanwhile, President of the Association, Claudette Cameron-Stewart, presented Danielle with a plaque for “successfully reflecting the values, attitude and beliefs of J. Barbara Martin.”
In expressing her appreciation, Danielle said the scholarship has been of tremendous help to her and her family, and promised to work harder at her studies. She also promised to make her “big sisters” proud of her CXC results.
Presentations to the Merl Grove Scholarship Fund were made by Senvia Money Services and Victoria Mutual Money Transfer. Senvia also donated a computer to kick-start the group’s Computer Lab Fund, Pamella Lecky of Mirabel Travel donated a trip to Jamaica as a gate prize and Air Jamaica flew Danielle to Toronto, free of cost.
Also in attendance were the President of the North Eastern American Chapter of the Merl Grove Alumni, Andrea McDonald-Black; President of the Jamaican Diaspora-Canada Foundation, Philip Mascoll; President of Arts and Culture Jamaica, Cherita Girvan-Campbell; President of the Calabar Old Boys Association, Eugene Chang; and President of the Kingston College Old Boys Association, Lance Seymour.

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