For Morant Bay High School students, Shereese Graham and Kimmara Coombs, being in Canada was an experience they will cherish forever.
The two students were part of a contingent of 10 high school students from Jamaica who were in Toronto, Canada, to take part in the Emerging Global Leaders Programme (EGLP), organised by York University.
“It’s really a great opportunity for us. It opened our eyes and has given us a wider perspective of what education can really do,” Kimmara told JIS News.
“It has been very interesting and I have learnt a lot. I really hope other students from my school will get the opportunity to come see what we have experienced,” said Shereese.
Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Mr. George Ramocan (standing), addressing Jamaican high school students who participated in York University’s Emerging Global Leaders Programme, in Canada.
The EGLP targets high school students, giving them a chance to gain leadership skills during a two-day retreat. York University provides everything during the programme, including accommodation and meals, while the Jamaican past students associations in Toronto pay the students’ airfares.
The other Jamaican students in the programme are Marvin Jackson and Hakeem Fuller from Excelsior; Chantelle Richardson from Clarendon College; Kevonnie Whyte from Ardenne High; Aubrey Stewart from Cornwall College; Craig Thomas from Calabar High; Kacheive Dale from Knox College and Andre St. Marie from Kingston College.
During a call on Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Mr. George Ramocan, on May 13, the students had the opportunity to learn more about Jamaica’s presence overseas and ask questions.
Mr. Ramocan told them that Toronto is the most diverse cultural city in the world with more than 200 nationalities calling it home. He shared with them that Jamaicans make up one-eighth of the population of Toronto.
“We have a strong presence here. It’s a wonderful population of Jamaicans who are living here and doing extraordinarily well. There are very few who give a bit of trouble and they are the ones who get in the news on a regular basis. Those are not the true Jamaicans who are here; they misrepresent what Jamaicans are about,” he said.
The Consul General also shared with the students that Canada plays a vital role in keeping Jamaica’s tourism going and growing.
“Despite the recession, tourism from Canada to Jamaica increased last year. This has not happened anywhere else,” said the Consul General. “We are looking for even better results this year,” he added.
He also mentioned the re-opening of the JAMPRO office in Canada, and the Farm Work Programme, which employs more than 6,000 Jamaicans annually.
Giving them a pep talk, Consul General Ramocan told the students that future leaders are present leaders, and in order to be good leaders, they must first become good followers.
“Unless one can respect and be submissive to authority, learn to work with those who are above them and in charge of them, then they cannot become good leaders. They will be rebellious people and will not understand the important role they have when they become leaders,” he said.
The students returned to Jamaica on May 16.