• Feature
    Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education Awardee, Robert Miller.
    Photo: Contributed

    Story Highlights

    • As a child, educator Robert Miller was the recipient of numerous acts of kindness from persons who helped him to realise the lofty ambitions he aimed for.
    • “My parents couldn’t afford lunch for me every day. So throughout my time at Bridgeport High School, the Principal used to provide lunch for me sometimes. When I was sitting my CXCs, I borrowed money from the school to pay for my exams, and during my undergraduate and graduate studies, persons volunteered to give me grants and scholarships,” he recounts to JIS News.
    • So at a young age, Mr. Miller set out to repay those acts of benevolence by dedicating his life to serving to his country, because “I believe in giving back”.

    As a child, educator Robert Miller was the recipient of numerous acts of kindness from persons who helped him to realise the lofty ambitions he aimed for.

    “My parents couldn’t afford lunch for me every day. So throughout my time at Bridgeport High School, the Principal used to provide lunch for me sometimes. When I was sitting my CXCs, I borrowed money from the school to pay for my exams, and during my undergraduate and graduate studies, persons volunteered to give me grants and scholarships,” he recounts to JIS News.

    So at a young age, Mr. Miller set out to repay those acts of benevolence by dedicating his life to serving to his country, because “I believe in giving back”.

    The former Director of the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force (JCCF) says he fuelled his desire to serve his community and country by focusing on youth development.

    “I have been involved in youth ministry since 1988 at the Spanish Town Seventh-day Adventist Church, where I was involved in the Pathfinders Club, and I have been working with youth ever since. I believe, if given the opportunity, youth will shine; so I look out for the welfare of our youth,” he points out.

    Mr Miller currently sponsors the youth group at his church and also serves as the Area Coordinator for Master Guides of the Central Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

    “I have also made it an integral part of my life to assist persons… from my church, alma mater and my community… with student-based assessment in subjects such as Accounting, Principles of Business, and Economics,” he adds.

    Mr Miller, who has served as an Advisor in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, says he is thankful for the opportunity afforded him to be involved in the implementation of policies which have served to enhance youth development, adding that one of his most memorable engagements is the Fun4Kids Mission.

    “There are many athletes who are talented but aren’t gifted academically; and there are certain guidelines that govern athletes in terms of [attaining] certain percentages and a particular number of subjects. So we teamed up with an organisation in Florida, Fun4kids, and [Jamaican-born American athlete] Sanya Richards-Ross to help them achieve that,” he tells JIS News.

    According to Mr. Miller, the Fun4Kids Programme, which was implemented in 16 secondary schools, resulted in an increase in class attendance by student athletes and improvement in their grades.

    The lecturer at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU), Vocational Training Development Institute (VTDI), and Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) also recounts his tenure as National Youth Service (NYS) Chairman with pride.

    “When I became Chairman of the NYS, the cohort was just 4,000 students from Grade 11; but the population of that cohort was 56,000. There were a lot of youth who were seeking employment but not able to get jobs. So we decided, as a Board, to increase the intake for the summer employment by around 80 per cent, and the positive impact of that still makes me proud,” he states.

    The Spanish Town native is one of 40 educators who received the 2019 Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation (PMMA) for Service to Education for their contribution to Jamaica’s education system, at an awards ceremony at Jamaica House on Wednesday, June 26.

    “It’s a good feeling to know that the work that I have done is being recognised in my lifetime. It was not about what I can get, but what I can give back to my country. So I am honoured and grateful and privileged to be a part of this esteemed group of academics,” he tells the JIS News.

    Mr. Miller encourages young persons to become involved in their community.

    “It is very important to give back. There are persons less fortunate than you that you can give back to, in terms of moulding their lives, being mentors and just enhancing to their lives. If each one can reach one, then Jamaica can be the perfect place to raise families, work and do business,” he says.

    The Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for Service to Education is awarded annually in observance of Education Week and is presented to teachers with a minimum of 15 years of service to education in Jamaica.