There will come a time when the current membership will no longer be active in their schools’ alumni associations. With this in mind, new Jamaica Consul General, George Ramocan, has suggested that alumni groups in the Greater Toronto Area should begin the process of finding innovative ways to recruit new members to pass on the baton.
“One of the problems you will identify is a paucity of people who actually attended the various schools,” Ramocan said at the Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations (AJAA) 21st anniversary gala last Saturday night.
“Does this mean that those associations will wither away after the current leadership and members (are gone)? No, a thousand times no. You will have to co-opt your relatives and friends who were born here and adjust the constitutions of your respective associations accordingly. This will ensure that schools such as Rusea’s, Cornwall, Calabar, Wolmer’s, St. Hugh’s and others continue to benefit from the expertise and sharing of alumni associations in the distant future. This, I believe, is thinking proactively.”
This was Ramocan’s first pubic address to a community organization since arriving here on November 16 to replace Anne-Marie Bonner.
The former Jamaica Labour Party senator said the AJAA plays an important role in supporting the country’s educational system.
“Each of the alumni associations that constitute the alliance, through their contribution to their alma mater, assist in the development of Jamaica,” said Ramocan, who has a Master’s degree in Theology and served for 13 years as executive director of the Jamaica Institute for Political Education.
“When you send educational materials, funds for infrastructure improvement and funds for lunch money for students, you are enhancing the capacity of those schools to exist and expand. You are also ensuring that the children receiving funds keep their dreams alive. The youngsters in a rural area or in the inner cities of Kingston are eternally grateful for your caring and sharing.”
Starting with just four member associations, the AJAA now comprises 38 associations. Its signature events include the annual recognition ceremony for high school graduates, Soccer Fest and the Care & Share program that provides support for needy Jamaican families at Christmas.
To mark its anniversary, the AJAA honoured 24 members for significant contributions to their organization. They are Dalton Forrester, Olive Parkins-Smith and Alene Miller-Chen (Rusea’s), Sonia Betty and Paul Barnett (Ardene), Alric Salmon and Janette Keene (Holmwood), Leithan Lafayette and Barry Ellis (Calabar), Letna Allen-Rowe (Clarendon College), Wes Simons (Mount Ward Primary), Alex Francis (Kingston College), Ren Mendez (Brandon Hill), Delrose Miller-Brown (Munro Hampton), Charles Francis (Jamaica College), Joy Graham (St. Hugh’s), Beverly Clark (Meadowbrook), Charles Chambers (Excelsior), Eddie Gough (Cornwall), Audrey Johnson (Wolmer’s), Patrick Wisdom (Morant Bay), Audrey Johnson (Jeffrey Town),Winston Roach (Mico) and Diane Frans (Dinthill Technical).