Vocalist Jay Douglas never shies away from an opportunity give back to his Jamaican alma mater. Whenever called upon to share his musical talent at the Mount Ward All-Age School Past Students Association’s Toronto chapter fundraisers, Douglas is present once the event does not clash with an engagement with his band.
Last Saturday night was no exception as he and his All-Star Band performed at the organization’s 15th annual gala and scholarships awards in Mississauga. He was also honoured for his musical contributions in Canada.
“To be recognized was quite a surprise and honour,” said the 2012 Harry Jerome Award recipient. “Mount Ward has given me a lot in terms of shaping my life and providing a foundation for me. Music was also part of the school curriculum and that helped me to become who I am today.”
Douglas visited the school while vacationing in Jamaica last January.
“Classrooms were crowded and several parts of the institution are in desperate need of repairs,” he said. “Organizations like our Toronto chapter are crucial in that we are giving back to the institution that helped many of us get to where we are in life. That’s the reason why I do anything for them when I could.”
Since 2005, the Toronto chapter has donated bursaries to students attending the Jamaican school. The organization also presents scholarships to students of Jamaican heritage who are pursuing post-secondary studies in Canada.
This year’s winners are Eulalee Lumsden and Paige Seaton.
Lumsden has been accepted into York University’s English & Professional Writing program while Seaton secured a basketball scholarship to attend Faulkner University in Alabama. She captained the St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School senior girls’ basketball team that won the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) gold medal last November.
The current Mount Ward Past Students Association Toronto chapter executive comprises Fay James (president), Mervin Witter (vice-president), Jean Cunningham (recording secretary), Lillian Davis (corresponding secretary), Cliff Simons (treasurer), Lambert Watson (public relations officer) and committee members Veronica Murray, Demi Pinnock, Carmel Atkins, Vincent Henry and Claudia Smith.
BY RON FANFAIR