Thousands of students and teachers from various schools flocked the Seville Heritage Park, St. Ann’s Bay, on Wednesday (October 14), for the Jamaica National Heritage Trust’s (JNHT) annual Heritage Expo.
The event was held in collaboration with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), and sought to promote Jamaica’s rich heritage through exhibitions, speech presentations, music, story telling, puppetry and dance.
The theme for Heritage Week, “Believe in Jamaica: Embracing Our Heritage”, was deliberately selected to follow up on the ‘I Believe’ Festival 2009 theme, JNHT’s Communications Director, Coleen Douglas, told JIS News.
“So, if you believe in your country, if you have faith in it then, obviously, you are going to embrace it,” Miss Douglas observed.
Students from the William Knibb High School in Trelawny showcase their Maypole dancing talent at Heritage Expo 2009, at the Seville Heritage Park, St. Ann’s Bay, on Wednesday (October 14). The event was staged by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT) in collaboration with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC)
She added that the Jamaica Tourist Board’s (JTB) thrust towards experiencing Jamaica would be captured during Heritage Week, by encouraging persons to take the time out and visit a heritage site, whether or not the site is located in their parish of residence.
“We have made the rates very attractive, and even persons with private sites, for this week, have made it much more attractive than the normal. So a part of embracing that heritage is to visit a heritage site, and that is what we propose that persons do,” she said.
Director of Culture in the Education Programme, Amina Blackwood Meeks, told JIS News that the Ministry of Education was very pleased to be associated with the joint venture between the JCDC and the JNHT.
“For me, one of the best things about this Heritage celebration is that all the teachers have come out with all of these enthusiastic and energetic children to immerse them, for an entire day, in all the things we can believe in about ourselves. So, we truly have something to embrace,” she said.
Acting Subject Specialist at JCDC, Leighton Jones, said that he too was impressed with the turn out of students and teachers this year.
“Right now we are past 2,000 students. We did not expect that many, but we are very happy. The numbers have grown and, ofcourse, it has been a wonderful event, today. Next year I am quite sure that we will be expecting more,” Mr. Jones told JIS News.
Principals and teachers, like the students, were very active at the event and participated in various activities throughout the day. Teacher of cultural folk forms at the William Knibb High School, Horace McKellop, was most active with his students, showcasing their talents and also teaching others the moves associated with traditional dances such as the Maypole, Quadrille and Tambo.
“In terms of this activity here today, I think it is a very wonderful production because, if you look at the turn out of the students, you will see that there is really a need for students to learn our culture,” he said.
“Overall, I see where this is a productive venture, and I hope that it will continue in the years to come so that our culture may remain alive,” Mr. Mckellop suggested.
“It was very educational and entertaining, and I learnt a lot. I am currently preparing for my exams and it is, indeed, good to know that I was able to see some of the things here at Seville that I have been reading about at school,” Hopewell High School student, Obrien Gayle, told JIS News.
He thanked the JNHT and the JCDC for giving students the “hands on experience” in learning about their heritage and culture.