By RON FANFAIR
Vaughan Secondary School Grade 12 student DeJaun Sutherland and Nelson A. Boylen Collegiate Institute graduate Quentin “Vercetty” Lindsay are young men on a mission.
Sutherland intends to combine his athletic and academic skills to enter the sports management field. He will pursue Business Studies at the University of Ottawa. Lindsay, on the other hand, enters the Ontario College of Art & Design in September.
Lindsay was part of a group of talented young artists who created a 400-foot bike-themed mural at the intersection of Dupont St. and Dundas St. W last year. He also was among a group of student illustrators and poets who shared a collective voice at the Urban Speaks Poetry Launch Anthology/L’Echo de la ville 2010 last month at the Toronto Centre for the Arts.
They were among 33 high school students of Jamaican descent recognized with bursaries and graduation certificates at the 17th annual Alliance of Jamaican Alumni Associations awards ceremony last Sunday at the Jamaican Canadian Centre.
“This honour says to us that we should rise up and be the best we can,” said Sutherland who, along with Lindsay, won the Essay Writing competition. “It also says we are expected to give back to the community…I plan to enter the maze of life with a hedge cutter that will be used to cut through the excess junk that I don’t need and a blowtorch to cut a path that will enable me to carve out my own success.”
Bursaries were also presented to Angelique Grange, Charnel Grey, Shanice Burrell, Shana-Kay Wright and Anisha Clayton.
Grey, a graduate of Turner Fenton Secondary School, will study Psychology at the University of Waterloo; Grange – an honour roll student at Emily Carr Secondary School – enters the York University/Seneca College Nursing program in September and Wright, a graduate of R. H. King Academy, will study Business at the University of Waterloo.
A volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, Clayton graduated from Turner Fenton Secondary School and Burrell has been accepted into McGill University’s Commerce program.
A total of $8,500 in academic awards was presented to the graduates in the presence of Jamaican Consul General George Ramocan.
“I have been where you are,” he told them. “You can be whatever you want to be, but make sure you become the leader, the pacesetter and a role model. When you do that, you cannot miss the mark and your parents will be proud of you.”
AJAA director Olive Parkins-Smith reminded the students that their parents made huge sacrifices for them to graduate from high school and become, in some instances, the first in their family to pursue post-secondary education.
“They chose to migrate here for various reasons, but their main goal was to provide you with the best education possible,” she said. “Today, you are testimony to their hard work and support. As you embark upon this new journey in your life, never forget who you are, where you came from and where you are going. Be strong and continue to strive for excellence.”
The other graduates honoured were Alaine Ainsley, Natasha Allen, Trudy-Ann Alleyne, Nikisha Campbell, Jessica Chin, Fabian Cousley, Soraya Darwood, Shannon Douglas, Trishauna Forbes, Shanice & Sharane Garnett, Danielle Gayle, Camille Gordon, Danielle Hudson, Wade Hudson, Jamila James, Ashley Keene, Danielle Levy, Breanna McLaren, Shadale Newell, Ryan Northfield, Brianna Plummer, Spencer Reid, Joshua Smikle, Kheelee Williams and Kadyan Winkley.