• Feature
    Past member of the Mount Olivet United Church Youth Fellowship, Sandra Anderson McClymont (fourth left), presents a first-aid kit to Principal of the Mount Olivet Primary School in Manchester, Alwyn McLeod, recently. The occasion was a visit to the school by former group members, which formed part of their inaugural annual reunion exercise.
    Photo: Dave Reid

    Story Highlights

    • Students and teachers at Mount Olivet Primary School in Manchester were in a jubilant mood when the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Heritage team, along with several past members of the Mount Olivet United Church Youth Fellowship (MOUCYF), visited the institution recently.
    • The JIS was on the final leg of its annual Heritage School tour, while the Youth Fellowship past members, who were hosting their inaugural three-day reunion, were on hand to make a presentation to the school.
    • Chair of planning committee for the reunion, Sandra Grey, tells JIS News that some members of the group who are past students of the school saw it fit to give back to the institution that was integral to their formative development.

    Students and teachers at Mount Olivet Primary School in Manchester were in a jubilant mood when the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Heritage team, along with several past members of the Mount Olivet United Church Youth Fellowship (MOUCYF), visited the institution recently.

    The JIS was on the final leg of its annual Heritage School tour, while the Youth Fellowship past members, who were hosting their inaugural three-day reunion, were on hand to make a presentation to the school.

    Chair of planning committee for the reunion, Sandra Grey, tells JIS News that some members of the group who are past students of the school saw it fit to give back to the institution that was integral to their formative development.

    The reunion provided an opportunity for the more than 30 persons coming from as far as the United States and Canada to provide well-needed support to Mount Olivet United Church, and Primary School.

    The reunion was conceptualised by Amore Anderson, who presently resides in California in the United States. Mr. Anderson was one of the earliest members of the MOUCYF when it was formed 48 years ago.

    He tells JIS News the idea was in recognition of the need to formally acknowledge and extend gratitude to the persons who were instrumental in nurturing and mentoring the members of the Mount Olivet Youth Fellowship over the years, as well as to give back to the community.

    The honourees are Mary Davis, founder of the MOUCYF and former educator at the Christiana Secondary School; Linnete Duncan, former teacher at the Mount Olivet Primary and Education Officer for Region 5; James Davis, former Director of the Mount Olivet Boys’ Home; Charmaine Duncan, former Organist; and Colin Adamson, former Choir Director.

    They were honoured at a banquet, which was held at the Knox Community College Campus in Cobbla, Manchester

    “These honourees, through their wide-ranging contributions, were essentially the role models for scores of young people from the area, providing guidance, direction and positive intervention at a critical juncture in our lives,” he says.

    Mr. Anderson said their impact “cannot be overemphasised”, noting that “typically, as adolescents and young adults, we would have been faced with numerous challenges and needed a stabilising force in our lives”.

    Pastor of the Webster Memorial United Church in Kingston, Rev. Astor Carlyle, a former member of MOUCYF, was the guest speaker at the banquet.

    He commended members of the group for seeing fit to not only recognise those who had a positive influence on their lives but to position themselves in the same light.

    The group presented the church with sound equipment, and according to Mr. Anderson, “as plans for the event materialised, we were sensitised to the various needs of the church as well as the school, which is aligned to the Church.

    A commitment was made to also support the expansion of the church hall, and to bolster and modernise its music department.

    Meanwhile, the school’s administration has indicated that the institution is in need of several items, including a printer and photocopier, to enhance the students’ educational experience of the students.

    Several individuals have also committed to support the Mount Olivet Boy’s Home which is also affiliated to the Church.

    “As a trailblazing group, we are also mandated to ensure the resuscitation of the Youth Fellowship; we learnt that, sadly, it has been dormant in recent years.

    Having profited immensely from such a rich and diverse experience, we recognize the importance of the Youth Fellowship and have committed to participating in its revival,” Mr. Anderson states.

    The reunion’s concept was the deep-seated yearning of past members of the MOUCYF to get together, under the theme ‘Reunited’, after being apart for several decades.

    Bonding and fellowship were the linchpins of the three days of activities, which culminated with the members attending Sunday service at the Mount Olivet United Church.

    The success of this inaugural event has already spurred calls for its repeat in 2021, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the MOUCYF.