Students from 19 non-traditional high schools across the island have been honoured by the National Child Month Committee (NCMC) for outstanding performance and community service, through its Academic Awards Programme.
Now in its fourth year, the Programme recognizes the accomplishments of young persons from non-traditional high schools in each parish, who have achieved academic excellence at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) level and who demonstrate a spirit of volunteerism.
The award ceremony was held on June 23 at the Knutsford Court Hotel, in New Kingston.
Recipients received a cash prize of $10,000, gift baskets, book vouchers and a plaque.
Speaking on behalf of State Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, Chief Executive Officer for the Child Development Agency (CDA), Rosalee Gage-Grey, congratulated the recipients and encouraged them to continue to pursue excellence.
“I have met some of the brightest and most outstanding students in our country, who are also positive role models in their communities and show characteristics that indicate they will grow up to make a positive contribution to society,” she said.
Chairperson of the NCMC, Dr. Pauline Mullings, who has served in the education sector for over 38 years, said rewarding children for academic achievement is good motivation for them to continue their pursuit of excellence in all aspects of life.
“When children are rewarded for their effort in school, it is a great motivation to get more reward. We see the pleasure on the faces of the children, parents and teachers and we are happy to do that for them,” she said.
Noting that many of these children excel despite significant financial and personal challenges, Dr. Mullings said the Programme aims to reward their perseverance and encourage them to continue their pursuit of excellence.
“This is important because many of the children from the non-traditional high schools are not really recognized for their efforts and hard work. We felt that this is something we want to do to motivate these children. Our main objective is to make these persons feel special and good about themselves, and that someone has taken the time to recognize the effort that they have made,” she said.
Sixth form student of Denbigh High School, in Clarendon, Jodian Clarke, who copped the award for ‘Top Student’, expressed her appreciation for the initiative.
“This award means a lot as we are given recognition for all the hard work and sacrifices made to pass our exams, despite the challenges we face. These awards will be a constant reminder to us to remain focused, determined and goal oriented as we move on to future endeavours,” she said.