JIS News

Cross Keys High School, in Manchester, as part of its Heritage Week celebrations, honoured four unsung heroes who have served various communities in the southern part of the parish.
At a ceremony, held at the school on October 14, Ms. Hilda Thompson, Ms. Elmay Garcia, Mr. Walter Cockett and Mr. Dundee Hewitt, were hailed for their sterling contribution to the development of the communities.
Citations were read and plaques presented by Principal of Cross Keys High School, Mr. Ralph Nelson.
Ms. Thompson, who has been a teacher for 36 years and is currently the Principal for Liberty Hall Basic School in Resource, Manchester, was described as a very active community person. She currently holds the position of Public Relations Officer for the Resource Citizens Association, and is also Secretary of the Resource Agricultural Society, a position she has held for the last five years.
She is an active member of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which hosts events annually to honour the work of National Hero, The Right Excellent Marcus Garvey. She was also instrumental in the building of a post office for her community of Resource.
Ms. Garcia was hailed, in her citation, as one of the great unsung heroines of Jamaica.
She served on the staff of the Cross Keys High School, first in the capacity of Child Care Vocation Teacher from 1976 until the position was phased out. She then served as the school’s official nurse.
Ms. Garcia also taught Child Care and was the community nurse for Cross Keys and its environs. She is now retired.
In the citation to Mr. Hewitt, he was described as a “high achiever” and having “a deep passion for education.”
Mr. Hewitt is the recipient of number of awards, such as the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Award for Excellence, for his contribution to education and community development in Manchester, the Order of Distinction for outstanding service to education and community development and the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for service to education.
He is currently the Chairperson of the Board of Governors for the St. Elizabeth Technical High School; Founder and Chairperson of the Manchester Sweet Potato Growers Association; and Founder and Manager for the New Broughton Youth and Adult Club.
In his citation, Mr. Cockett is lauded as the “founding father” of many community projects, and was instrumental in the renovation of an old burnt out building at the Cross Keys Police Station, to be used as the post office for the community.
He is also an active member of the UNIA and recruits members for the Association. He was the founding Secretary for the Cross Keys Police Civic Committee, which was established in 1982.
Replying on behalf of the awardees, Mr. Cockett said that they were “elated for the honour bestowed” on them.
He implored citizens to, “think not what your community can do for you, but what you can do for your community.”

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