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John Rollins Success Primary students overcome odds to reach graduation goal

Published:Wednesday | July 13, 2022 | 12:06 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Jehelianna Dobson, valedictorian for John Rollins Success Primary School’s graduating class of 2022, receives her certificate from class teacher Olivene Green-Walker during the 18th annual school-leaving ceremony at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in R
Jehelianna Dobson, valedictorian for John Rollins Success Primary School’s graduating class of 2022, receives her certificate from class teacher Olivene Green-Walker during the 18th annual school-leaving ceremony at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James, on Sunday.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Sunday afternoon saw a jubilant celebration from the John Rollins Success Primary School’s graduating class of 2022, as they honour their status as the St James-based school’s first cohort who had successfully completed the blended-learning modality due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The graduating cohort of 118 students basked in their accolades during the school’s 18th annual school-leaving ceremony, held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James, under the theme ‘Embracing the hybrid approach: Facilitating 21st-century learners’.

Principal Yvonne Miller-Wisdom lauded the Ministry of Education and Youth, and the efforts of the minister, Fayval Williams, for making it possible for her students to join the ranks of 21st-century, technology-driven scholars.

“As we focus on the graduation theme, it brings back memories of the days when hybrid and blended-learning modalities were only linked to universities. However, since the onset of COVID-19 in Jamaica, we have experienced a paradigm shift, where hybrid and blended modalities are now the norm of primary education, and today we have the first cohort of students who have completed three years of blended and hybrid modalities,” Miller-Wisdom told the ceremony, referencing the need for online learning that arose due to the pandemic restricting in-person classes.

“Today, all stakeholders are elated because this 18th cohort of students are among the 21st-century learners who are able to access and utilise the various platforms and information, communication and technology tools to enhance their learning experiences,” she added.

In addition to their school-leaving certificates, the graduates got special recognition through the St James East Central Scholarship Fund established by Member of Parliament Edmund Bartlett.

Of the 118 graduates, 30 students are to be awarded via the fund later this month for their scholastic excellence. Bartlett had set the standard last July, when he announced that $500,000 would be allocated towards schoolbook support for the top 30 students who passed 2021’s Primary Exit Profile at each of the 14 primary schools in his constituency.

In her address to her fellow graduates, class valedictorian and head girl Jehelianna Dobson thanked the students’ parents and teachers for supporting them in their drive for top academic performance.

“Allow me the privilege to thank my mom, and your parents, for providing us the opportunity to be a part of the John Rollins Success Primary School family. For many of us, it was never an easy task to get where we are today, celebrating this great milestone,” said young Jehelianna. “We were confronted with the COVID pandemic, which would have slowed us down and caused many of us to fall behind. Although there were many pauses on the online platform, we did not give up, but we continued to push ourselves with the help of our parents and teachers.”

Meanwhile, Dominican Republic Ambassador Angie Shakira Martinez Tejera used her keynote address to encourage the graduates to make the most of their educational opportunities.

“Education is the most powerful instrument that can be used to change the world. A good education can change one’s entire life and future,” said Martinez Tejera. “Do not waste your time, but focus and enjoy learning. If you study, you are unstoppable.”

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com