JIS News

More than 80 outstanding students of the José Martí Technical High School in St. Catherine have been awarded scholarships valued at $1.7 million by the institution’s past students’ association.

The awards were presented at the 45th Founder’s Day celebration held at the school’s campus in Twickenham Park, where students were recognised for excellence in academics, sports and other areas.

A sum of $120,000 was also handed over to benefit members of the teaching and ancillary staff.

President of the José Martí Past Students’ Association, Alexander Shaw, told JIS News that members of the Jamaican, New York, South Florida, and United Kingdom (UK) chapters came together to provide the awards.

He said the objective is to support students who are in need, and to promote academic excellence at their alma mater.

“We hope that they [students] continue to excel, and at some point they, too, will come back and carry on this legacy and ensure that [they] assist those in need,” Mr. Shaw said.

He said that the group decided to extend support to the teaching and ancillary staff who, he noted, “go beyond the call of duty to ensure that teaching and learning take place. We have to ensure at all times that our teachers are motivated, and that is why we included them in the awards ceremony”.

Tamera Jarret, who received the Student of the Year award for excellence in academics and netball, expressed gratitude, noting that the support will motivate her to continue to excel.

“Thank you very much to everyone who contributed to us getting the awards. We are hoping that you will continue and in the future we will do the same for other students,” she said.

Acting Principal of the school, Michelle Bogle, in her remarks, thanked the alumni association for the continued support.

“Even now… with this pandemic, you have found it in your hearts to draw closer together and give. Your unwavering interest in the school is helping our staff to create a brighter future for our students,” she said.

Guest speaker at the Founder’s Day event, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Howard Chambers, who is a past student of José Martí Technical High, urged the pupils to keep striving towards excellence.

“For the awardees, don’t get comfortable, don’t sit on your achievements, there is more to achieve.

“Always remember that the top of one mountain is the bottom of the next, so keep climbing,” added SSP Chambers, who is in charge of the St. Catherine North police division.

Cuba’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency, Fermín Quiñones Sánchez, who was in attendance, noted that José Martí Technical High stands as a symbol of friendship between his country and Jamaica.

The school was inaugurated on January 10, 1977 as a gift from the Government and the people of Cuba to the Government and people of Jamaica.

“I am very proud that the first social activity that I have carried out in Jamaica is with you,” the Ambassador said.

The annual Founders’ Day event is a recognition of the opening of the educational institution, and involves past students conducting devotion, delivering an address to the current students, and presenting awards to outstanding pupils.

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