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JIS News

On Friday (October 15) students and teachers of St. Jago High School in Spanish Town paid tribute to Olympian Michelle Burgher, bronze medallist at the recently concluded 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
A plaque was presented to Miss Burgher by Sieta Cunningham, President of the St. Jago Parent Teacher’s Association, while Rennai Byfield, a teacher at the school, read a citation.
Accompanied by her parents Jackie and Winston Burgher, Miss Burgher was also entertained with poetry, songs and dances performed by the students at a function held at the school’s auditorium. “It feels good, it feels great. It’s an overwhelming feeling. Words cannot describe how I feel at home here and the reception that I’m getting from the kids,” the athlete said in an interview with JIS News.
Miss Burgher explained that she had joined the school’s track and field team in 1988. “I was just an average athlete, but I stayed focused and worked hard and paid attention to my school work,” she revealed, noting that she was captain of the team when the school won the Girls’ Track and Field Championship in 1996 for the first time.
The Olympian, who had earlier signed numerous autographs for students, said she was happy to return to her alma mater. “School life here was fun. Looking back now, it makes me feel like reliving those experiences again,” she said, adding that she was able to meet some of her past classmates, who were now teachers at the school.
The two-time Olympian attributed her success in the athletics and academic fields to her former teachers, Marlene Lewin-Hawthore, Sandra Sawyer Watson and Claudette Browning.
“I want to encourage everyone here to set goals, work towards them and never loose sight of what they want to do and what they want to become in life. I’m living proof that I was never a superstar just an average athlete but I listened to my parents and my teachers,” she added.
Principal of St. Jago High, Keith Noel in his remarks at the ceremony said it was important to, “honour resilience” and to give credit to persons who despite their hardships were able to contribute to the development of the society. “It means resilience. It means that even though you might look small and incapable you are capable of great things,” he stated.
Mr. Keith said the school inspired students to be leaders within their community groups. “We have heroes among us, because in their community, in their family, in their village, in their district they have behaved in such a way that they are exemplars. They are people who we should not only admire but try to follow,” he emphasized.
The function held under the theme “Honouring Resilience” was organized by the school to honour the Olympians and 16 students who had excelled in their academic studies despite difficulties. The school also honoured four persons within the community who had made significant contributions to the society.
Receiving awards were Pamella Fishely, Dawn Marie Dalhouse, Stephanie Wright-Grant and Marie Brown. Other Olympians Kerron Stewart, Delloreen Ennis-London and Peta-Gaye Dowdie were unable to attend.