Greetings Excelsior alumni and welcome to 2012,
This greeting brings sincere wishes for your good health and prosperity in 2012. This year, be courageous and strive for what is meaningful to you – even if it means swimming against the current of popular opinion.
50thAnniversary Celebrations: Jamaica Independence
As we are all aware, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence. Across the diaspora there will be many events to celebrate this milestone. Be sure to stay up-to-date on the festivities with Jump4JA! Below is an excerpt from the first issue of Jump4JA! News:
“Jump4JA! is an exciting Calendar of Events and installations showcasing Jamaican ingenuity – from the arts to academia to athletics. Jump4JA! boasts the best of the best, Jamaican-born personalities as well as friends of Jamaica, renowned experts and artistes – from Canadian communities and around the world.”
50th Anniversary: Excelsior Extension Classes
While independence was a tremendous achievement for the country, that year also saw a momentous advance in the delivery of education for the nation: Excelsior’s introduction of its Extension School to Jamaica.
As The Sunday Gleaner reported on February 11, 1962, “The aim of the Extension Service at Excelsior School is to provide or increase the scope of educational facilities for all sections of the community, juvenile and adult, particularly in the areas where such facilities are either lacking or inadequate. … Until the need disappears, the Extension School seeks to continue the policy of provision for [an] overage group, a policy which was one of the fundamental reasons for founding the school many years ago.”
At the time, Excelsior was thinking – and acting — completely outside the box. This was an institution committed to its vision and principles and in so doing, Mr. Powell and Excelsior took Jamaican secondary education to a higher level
New Year’s Resolution
It is the season for making resolutions. As Excelsorians we are compelled to go “yet higher”, so the New Year is as good a time as any to identify how we are going to improve. To your list of resolutions, let me suggest that you add one more: I will do more to help keep the Excelsior vision alive: good quality education accessible to all, regardless of age or socioeconomic status. As Excelsior alumni, we are the living legacy of that vision. Here are some ways that you can help to strengthen the Excelsior legacy:
a. talk to your association about contributing financially
b. volunteer your time/skills
c. offer your ideas/suggestions on how your association can be more useful
d. talk to other alumni about getting involved
A glance back at 2011
2011 was another year of growth and learning for our Toronto organization. Many more alumni have connected with the association, shared their contact details and expressed interest getting involved! The funding support provided to project at the school has increased sharply from the previous year.
The 3rd Annual Laaf ‘n Nyam Brunch was a memorable gathering of alumni as well as friends and supporters of Excelsior. We are very pleased with the strong turnout of philanthropists to support secondary education at Excelsior – while enjoying a scrumptious brunch of Jamaican comfort food. Special thanks to attendees who made their way there from well outside the Toronto area, including Ottawa, Chicago and New York. It was a festive occasion although I witnessed a number of tearful, but happy, reunions. Proceeds from this event will allow your Toronto Association to fund projects identified and championed by the school’s Principal.
Now you can mark your calendar for the next Laaf ‘n Nyam, booked for December 2, 2012. See you all there.
The Summer Dance was a runaway success in the number of alumni and friends that attended, including many that were reluctant to leave even after the lights came up in the wee hours of the morning. Proceeds from this event allowed Toronto to make its initial commitment to the upgrading and expansion of the Assembly Hall at 137 Mountainview Avenue.
If you missed the fun in 2011 its awright, but no excuses for 2012. Yes, the 2012 Summer Dance is set for June 23.
We were once again short-listed for one of the coveted Emerging Global Leaders Program spots for an Excelsior student, and so are looking forward to welcoming another student this Spring.1
Through the AJAA, this association contributes to the Graduates Program, which provides financial support to Ontario students of Jamaican heritage to pursue post-secondary education. Similarly, your Association made a meaningful donation to the Annual Care & Share program, which helps the needy in the Toronto area during the holiday season.
Scholarships/bursaries in Canada
One key ambition for alumni residing in Canada is to see their children earn post-secondary credentials. However, for families of modest means, the high cost of post-secondary tuition can be a real barrier to higher education. However, there is a variety of philanthropic funding available for higher education and parents should become acquainted with these sources and the processes for applying.
Below, we will highlight one of these sources: The BBPA National Scholarships (http://bbpa.org/events-programs/national-scholarships/). Subsequent issues will highlight other scholarship/bursary sources:
The BBPA, or Black Business and Professional Association, is a non-profit, charitable organization that addresses equity and opportunity for the Black community in business, employment, education and economic development. The BBPA National Scholarship Fund is dedicated to supporting and promoting the achievement of academic excellence by Black Canadian youth through an annual scholarship program. These are in three categories:
i) BBPA Legacy Scholarships, in the names of Black Canadians who enriched Canada with their contributions in the arts, the professions, science, business, technology, politics and other areas of endeavour;
ii) Sponsored or Named Scholarships funded directly by corporations or individuals in the name of the corporation or individual; or established in the memory of a relative.
iii) The Legacy Scholarships are funded from donations to the General Fund.
The BBPA website reports that in its most recent year it granted scholarships totalling close to $200,000 to approximately 60 students from across Canada. (http://bbpa.org/events-programs/national-scholarships/the-scholarships/). Their website provides the detailed eligibility criteria and application forms for these awards.
An example of one of the Sponsored Scholarships is the Guntley-Lorimer Science and Arts Scholarship, sponsored by Dr. Edith Guntley-Lorimer and Professor Michael Lorimer. It provides four (4) scholarships – valued at $2,000.00 to $3,000.00 each – to students enrolled in Science and Arts programs at an accredited Canadian college or university. For BBPA Scholarships, applications must be received at the office of the Black Business and Professional Association no later than 4:00 p.m. on May 29th (not by e-mail).
So seize the year – and stay connected to your Excelsior family as we find ways to help each other learn, grow and thrive. See you soon.
Excelsior School Alumni Association (Ontario)