Bursar at the St. Jago High School in St. Catherine, Yvonne Lee, is the national winner of the Kingston Book Shop's inaugural Educational Support Staff Achievement (ESSA) award.
Mrs. Lee was among three other regional awardees, who were honoured at ceremony held on Friday (May 11) at the Terra Nova All-Suite hotel in Kingston.
Senior Secretary, Albert Town High School in Trelawny, Audrae Frater; Grounds man, Cross Keys High School in Manchester, Dexter Wright; and Home Economics helper at Tichfield High School in Portland, Barbara Allen, were the other awardees.
The national competition was introduced to highlight and honour outstanding support employees in the education system such as clerks, bursars, librarians, ancillary staff, secretaries, canteen operators, grounds men, nurses and traffic wardens.
Mrs. Lee said she felt humbled and “incredibly proud” to be the first recipient of the ESSA award and thanked the Kingston Bookshop family for “creating this opportunity to recognise the support staff in our schools”.
“Winning something like this is great, not just on a personal level, but also because it inspires us to keep on doing what we do (and) to try that bit harder, ultimately to be that bit better,” she said.
Education Minister, Rev. Hon. Ronald Thwaites, said the government is grateful to all support staff in schools for their dedication in carrying out their important roles that aid in ensuring the effectiveness and productivity of the education system.
“It is the highest human achievement to give of yourself, so indeed you will benefit, moreso that others may gain from that which you have to give…and this new series of awards emphasises this in a significant fashion,” he said.
He noted that the fact that the top awardees came from rural schools “is a tribute to rural life and its values”. The Minister said he was also pleased that a portion of the prize money would go towards upgrading the school libraries.
The national prize included support for school library up to $500,000; an investment certificate for $100,000; and a weekend for two courtesy of Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort.
The prizes for each regional winner were books for the school library valued at up to $100,000; and an investment certificate for $50,000.
Regional and national winners also received a certificate signed by the Education Minister and Chief Executive Officer of the Kingston Bookshop and Custos of Kingston, Hon. Steadman Fuller.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter