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Twelve of the island’s top parents, as decided by an islandwide adjudication process covering six regions, were honoured by the Ministry of Education and Youth, yesterday (December 11).
Speaking at the awards function, held at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, Chairman of the National Parents’ Month Steering Committee, Sharon Wolfe, applauded the parents, noting that they had mastered the challenges of child rearing and were contributing to national development.
“Because we are parents, we know we can reach low points but good parenting is critical for good families; they create good communities and it makes our nation strong,” said Mrs. Wolfe.
She informed that the Ministry partnered with the Jamaica Coalition for Better Parenting, Fathers Incorporated, National Parent Teachers Association to recognize the parents, adding that the 12 were not meant to represent the calibre of parenting in Jamaica, but was meant to encourage parenting efforts islandwide.
“It was a difficult task to determine the most outstanding parents,” Mrs. Wolfe stated, and encouraged the nation’s caregivers to “face this battle for our children head on, recognizing that there is no greater reward than making a positive impact on a child and rejoicing in his or her achievement”.
In a testimonial, National Parent of the Year, Kerrith Masters, who won the Ministry of Education and Youth national award and a week-end at a hotel for his family, said fatherhood was sometimes difficult.
“It is sometimes difficult to set standards and impose values without stifling their independence.initiative and creativity as they face challenges from the wider society and peers,” said Mr. Masters, a Manchester native who works as a Land Surveyor as well as with the DeCarteret College Parent Teachers Association.
Mr. Masters, who spoke on behalf of the awardees, suggested that parents should not only inculcate positive values in their children, but also allow room for them to independently exercise that which they have learnt, by demonstrating a level of trust.
Mother of the Year, Primrose May Scott from Cumberland, St. Catherine, walked away with a weekend hotel pass for her family of four as well as the Life of Jamaica award.
The selection process involved preliminary adjudication by the Education Ministry’s regional education officers, interviews, testimonials and proof that the individual played a crucial role in childcare and development not only in his or her home, but assisted with parenting at the community level.
Parents honoured from the Education Ministry’s six regions were: Donna Adams, Demsha Thompson, Paula Hylton, Roy Johnson, Elaine Flynch, Neville Seivwright, Arlee Anderson, Carlton Samuels, Nicole Minott Plummer, Kerrith Masters, Primrose May Scott, and Morris Lawrence.
National Parents’ Month was celebrated in November.