Sixteen students from non-traditional high schools across the island have been honoured by the National Child Month Committee (NCMC) for outstanding performance in their external examinations.
At the NCMC’s 2016 Youth Academic Achievement Award (YAAA) ceremony held on June 22 at The Knutsford Court Hotel in New Kingston, the students were presented with certificates, plaques, and gift baskets.
The top awardee was Shackoyla Crooks of Godfrey Stewart High School in Westmoreland, who received a scholarship. She attained 10 Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) subjects with six distinctions, three credits and one pass.
She also earned five Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) unit one subjects, with four distinctions and one credit.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, commended the awardees and urged them to continue to strive for excellence.
“Your courage, strength and determination to succeed will not go unnoticed. I encourage you to continue to fuel your work ethic and your passion to change your community as you venture into your tertiary careers or beyond,” he said.
The State Minister, in his message delivered by his Senior Advisor, Brittany Singh Williams, also hailed the NCMC for acknowledging the students, who have worked tirelessly to succeed against various challenges.
He encouraged Jamaicans to protect all children, as they are the future of the country.
In his remarks, Chief Executive Officer, One-on-One Educational Services, Ricardo Allen, also urged the students to continue their excellent work.
Citing his own humble beginnings, he said they should use the challenges of the past as inspiration for future successes.
Chairman, NCMC, Dr. Pauline Mullings said the annual award ceremony recognises the achievements of students, who are usually overlooked because of the institutions they attend.
She used the opportunity to invite more representatives from these institutions to submit the names of students who are excelling, so that they can be recognised.
Responding on behalf of the awardees, Shackoyla implored students not to let their struggles deter them from achieving their goals. She said they should always perform at their best and become “shining stars” regardless of the institutions that they attend.
“Many persons in the society have the opinion that only underachievers are sent to non-traditional high schools. However, I was determined to not let that hinder me from striving for success,” she noted.
The other awardees are Shamar Bennett from the Salvation Army School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Kingston; Marshagay O’Gilvie, Robert Lightbourne High, St. Thomas; Elise Daley, Kingston High; Robert Gayle, Penwood High, St. Andrew; Shanique Tyrell, Tarrant High, St. Andrew; Ackeem Brooks, Guy’s Hill High, St. Catherine; Kressan Flowers, Kemps Hill High, Clarendon; William Francis, Denbigh High, Clarendon; Vanesta Mullings, Porus High, Manchester; Tanique Mason, Cross Keys High, Manchester; Althea Garrick, Aabuthnott Gallimore High, St. Ann; Shanice Thomas, Roger Clarke High, St. Elizabeth; Richard Poyser, Irwin High, St. James; Romeo Bowyer, Hopewell High, Hanover; and Reynaldo Morris, Grange Hill High, Westmoreland.
To qualify for the YAAA, students must attend a non-traditional high school, attain five or more subjects at the CSEC level and overcome great odds to achieve these outstanding results. They should also be involved in community service in keeping with the spirit of voluntarism.