NEW YORK – Alumni organizations in the Jamaican diaspora continue to play a vital role in the advancement of education in Jamaica by contributing millions of dollars to improve their schools back home as well as fund scholarships and other projects.
According to Derrick Scott, newly elected president of the New York based Friends of Trelawny Association (FOTA), the alumni associations giving back have made a big difference in the growth and development of their alma mater.
“Your constant giving back to your various institutions, which amounts to millions of dollars, has resulted in many schools having better amenities and hundreds of students receiving financial assistance to help further their education,” Scott remarked at the second annual dinner dance of the South Florida Westwood Old Girls Association (SFWOGA) held recently.
Mr. Scott commended the SFCWOGA for helping to improve the landscape of education in the parish of Trelawny where the school is based and cited the tremendous assistance the association has given even after having left the institution years ago. He commended the members for not forgetting where they were nurtured.
“I am heartened by the spirit of patriotism and loyalty that prevails in alumni organizations such as yours and that the flame of love and commitment to Jamaica has remained kindled,” Mr. Scott said at the group’s fundraiser, held at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Sunrise, Fort Lauderdale.
The group has contributed some $6,000 to the school in recent years.
Mr. Scott said FOTA has always supported schools in the parish and plans to form closer ties with the many alumni groups from looking to give back to their alma mater.
He pointed out that the most vital investment is what we make in our people, beginning with our children who are the most vulnerable among us. Mr. Scott said that he was encouraged by the organization’s willingness to use their resources to build and empower communities and people particularly through the medium of education.
The FOTA president Scott recognized Westwood as one of the historic educational institutions, which has produced some of Jamaica’s outstanding daughters with a commitment to their country.
Turning to the Diaspora, FOTA President said the contribution of the Diaspora to Jamaica should be more than the US$2 Billion sent home every year and that it was time for alumni associations and various Diaspora organizations to begin to harness the skills and talents that abound in support of Jamaica’s national development and objectives.
Westwood’s class of 1971 was recognized at the dinner, with former Editor-in-Chief of the Gleaner Company, Wyvolyn Gager, receiving the group’s 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. She was recognized for being the only woman to hold that post at the paper, and for her “unparalleled leadership” in the field of journalism and contribution to her community.
Old girls from all over the USA and Jamaica attended the dinner. Funds raised from the dinner will go towards providing additional scholarships and aid in the reestablishment of the sixth form, which will reopen at the institution in September 2014 after being dormant for 38 years.