Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, George Ramocan has urged Canadian high school graduates of Jamaican heritage, not to get sidetracked and take their eyes off their goal.
“When you have a goal, your choices are narrowed down to just the things that are going to help you to get to where you want to go. So imagine yourself already being where you want to be. Imagine yourself being that pilot, or that educator, or that doctor or that great construction engineer; then think about how do you get there,” he said.
Mr. Ramocan was speaking at the 17th Annual Graduates Awards Ceremony and Reception, organized by the Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations (AJAA), and held at the Jamaican Canadian Centre on July 4 in Toronto, Canada.
Five of the high school graduates of Jamaican heritage who received bursary awards from the Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations (AJAA). From left are: Shauna-Kay Wright; Quentin Lindsay, runner-up in the essay writing competition; Charnel Grey; Anisha Clayton; and Angeliqua Fonse Grange.
“You can be what you want to be,” the Consul General told the students. “Whatever you choose, make sure you become the leader, you become the pacesetter, you become the role model. When you do that, your parents, your community and your country will be proud of you,” he added.
The Consul General lauded members of the AJAA for “their yeoman service, hard work, dedication, and vision in providing a path to propel students to reach higher heights.”
The AJAA, an umbrella group of more than 30 Jamaican past students associations, not only assists Jamaica’s educational sector but also provides help to students of Jamaican heritage in the Canadian school system.
Congratulating the students, President of the AJAA, Alene Miller-Chen, said that graduation from high school is the first of many great accomplishments that they will achieve.
Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, George Ramocan giving words of encouragement to students of Jamaican heritage graduating from Canadian high schools.
“We want you to achieve great things in the future. This is the beginning that could award you with endless opportunities. It is the beginning that could end with you changing the things that are wrong in this world and make them right,” said Mrs. Miller-Chen.
Also giving the students words of encouragement were guest speakers, Leo Campbell and Lisa Brown; and Yanique Williams, who graduated from high school six years ago and from Queen’s University two years ago.
Mr. Campbell, who is currently pursuing a double Masters degree in Education, told the graduates that preparation is very important to success and implored them never to give up.
Manager of the Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS), Denise Sinclair (left), presents De Jean Sutherland with an award for placing first in the VMBS-sponsored essay writing competition.
“You cannot afford to give up, because all of us here are depending on you. You cannot give up because you are probably the first person in your family to go off to university. You cannot give up because your society and your community are depending on you, and remember that the race is not for the swift, but for the one who endures to the end,” he said.
Kinesiology and Health Sciences graduate, Ms. Brown told the students that in order to achieve their goals they should concentrate on five key things – develop discipline, be a go-getter, start backwards by reaching their goal in their minds, surround themselves with positive people and have a keen sense of the world and their place in it.
While all the graduates received Certificates of Achievement, several were singled out for special awards and bursaries.
Students receiving bursaries were Charnel Grey, who will attend the University of Waterloo studying Social Psychology; Angeliqua Fonse Grange, who has been accepted in the Bachelor of Science Nursing programme at York University/Seneca College; Shanice Burnette, who will attend McGill University in Commerce; Shauna-Kay Wright, who will attend the University of Waterloo in the Honours Arts and Business Co-op programme; Kaydian Winkley will be studying Criminal Justice at Ryerson University; Anisha Clayton will be studying to be a Truck and Coach Technician at Centennial College; and Quentin Lindsay, who will attend Ontario College of Art and Design.
Special awards went to the first and second place participants of an essay writing competition sponsored by Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS). Manager, Denise Sinclair presented awards to winner, De Jean Sutherland, who has been admitted to the Bachelor of Commerce and Finance programme at the University of Ottawa, and runner-up, Quentin Lindsay.
Speaking on behalf of the graduates, De Jean thanked all the parents, teachers and supporters who have helped them to reach this far.
“As a youth of Jamaican descent, I can testify how great the feeling is when you put your best foot forward and prove to people that we are just as capable of success as other denominations are. Oftentimes people are astounded when they see young black men and women doing well, but we must not live down to their expectations. We must rise up and be the best that we can be, uniting in our efforts to be better people, which will in turn make for a better world,” said the high school graduate.