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Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Honourable Professor Kenneth Hall, has urged organizations to promote the pursuit of excellence among young people by acknowledging and rewarding their achievement.
“I have often stressed the important position that young people hold in Jamaica and certainly, across the world.it is for this reason that I launched the Governor-General’s Youth Award of Excellence in 2006, and have been staging consultations with young people across the island to encourage them to make excellence a habit,” he stated.
The Governor-General was speaking at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award ceremony yesterday (Feb. 6) at King’s House, where gold awards were presented to 34 young people from high schools and community groups across the island, who have demonstrated excellence in community service, learning a skill and participation in recreational activities and expeditions.
Professor Hall congratulated the youngsters, noting that the award would empower them to become active participants in building social capital, both locally and internationally.
“It is therefore an honour for me to be involved with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which not only rewards young people, but also promotes several of the core values on which modern societies are built. These are values of volunteerism, excellence, self-discovery, self-reliance, as well as leadership, teamwork, decision-making and problem-solving skills,” he stated.
He further charged the recipients to apply the knowledge and skills learnt from the programme to inspire and influence their peers and to prepare them for future positions as leaders.
Meanwhile, the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, who presented the awards, urged the young people to continue to strive for excellence, and to pass on the knowledge and skills learnt to the communities in which they live.
He further commended Their Excellencies for hosting the event at King’s House, thereby giving the awardees a chance to be nationally recognized. “It is particularly important that these young people, who have worked so hard to achieve their award, should be recognised at a ceremony as this.and that the value of the award within the community here in Jamaica should be recognized at this level,” he stated.
Meanwhile, awardee, Trishawna Holland noted that the Duke of Edinburgh programme was an excellent initiative, which gave young people a chance to travel, develop their skills, and meet and interact with other youngsters.
Another recipient, Sheldon Graham, who joined the programme some six years ago, said the initiative helped him to develop his interpersonal skills as well as to make meaningful contribution to the society.
The awardees were entertained by performances from the Oberlin High School chorale and the Eagles Drum and Bugle Corps, while the Edna Manley College Ensemble gave a rendition of Bob Marley songs.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a character-building programme, which allows young people age 14 to 25 years, to participate in activities aimed at fostering independence and the development of self worth.
There are three categories of award – gold, silver and bronze – each requiring an increasing level of commitment and effort. The gold award, the highest honour, is presented to persons 16 years and older, who have diligently completed eight months to two years of activities and exhibit responsible adult behaviour and citizenship.