LIME-Gleaner Achievers fêted
Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter
As schools reopen tomorrow, 14 students who will be entering high school for the first time are now resting comfortably, following a whirlwind shopping spree they were treated to last Friday.
There was no denying that this year's LIME-Gleaner Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Achievers were grateful for the awards they received as they moved across Kingston and St Andrew collecting prize after prize.
The 14 GSAT top achievers, drawn from all the parishes across the island, could not contain their glee and appreciation for the assistance they were given to offset their back-to-school expenses. Four students who were selected for special mention were absent, but they will be given their prizes shortly.
The students, who were awarded for achieving outstanding results in the 2014 GSAT, despite facing difficult circumstances, were first treated to a special shopping spree at the Sangster's Book Stores branch at Tropical Plaza in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew.
With each pupil receiving $20,000 to spend at the store, the students, accompanied by parents and guardians, spared little time in striking off important items on their book lists.
And textbooks were not the only things that the eager students rushed for; the much-sought-after JanSport knapsacks were also in high demand.
The next stop was at the MegaMart Wholesale Club on Waterloo Road, where each top achiever received $10,000 towards the purchasing of everything - from socks and uniforms to school shoes.
The hard-working scholars were also treated to some of MegaMart's delicious pastries and a celebratory cake.
Rochelle Mitchell, senior marketing officer at MegaMart, said the decision to come on board for the second time was quite easy, as the LIME-Gleaner GSAT awards is in keeping with the company's mandate.
"It's education! And anything that deals with the uplifting of the nation's children, MegaMart is on board. We are a family store and our aim is to help take care of Jamaican families, and these children and their families really deserve all they are getting," said Mitchell.
In its second year, the LIME-Gleaner GSAT achievers initiative seeks to aid those students who have defied the odds and managed to gain exceptional grades in the gruelling high school entrance tests. The awards programme expanded from reward-ing some seven students last year, to choosing the top 14 this time around.
GLAD FOR HELP
Kenroy Douglas, father of Kingston top achiever Ebony Douglas, who will be attending Excelsior High, said the award will go a far way in offsetting back-to-school expenses.
"I am a father of two, and before I heard about this, I was seriously puzzled as to where I would get it (the money) from to do all this. So I feel good to know that corporate companies can step in and help a family like mine," said Douglas.
In addition to the shopping sprees, the students were also given a tour of the Jamaica National Building Society's (JNBS) Half-Way Tree branch and were presented with backpacks filled with supplies, and gift certificates to open their own JNBS bank accounts or towards their existing accounts.
Next stop was at The Gleaner's North Street head offices in downtown Kingston, where the students and their guardians were taken on an exciting journey of how The Gleaner has managed to retain its spot as the country's top media house over the last 180 years.
They were also presented with free subscriptions to The Gleaner's ePaper and fully compact tablets, courtesy of LIME.
The students were also treated like royalty by Island Grill, which made sure they were provided with healthy and delicious meals to keep them throughout the day.
"It was not only an exciting day, it was also very educational. I learnt a lot and gained a lot of exposure touring the different places. Everything that I got will go a far way in helping to relieve the financial stress," said Malaya Pickersgill, the St Mary top achiever, who is headed to the prestigious Westwood High School.
That was a sentiment shared by all the other students as they ended the day.
The LIME-Gleaner 18 achievers
St Mary: Malaya Pickersgill
St Elizabeth: Chioke Hamilton
Portland: Javia Reid
St Ann: Tashana Brown
Trelawny: Alexia Cooper
Kingston: Ebony Douglas
St Andrew: MaKaio McCarthy
St James: Marco Michael Derville
Hanover: Chantae Bromley
St Catherine: Antovoy Spencer
Manchester: Shanoy Kates
Clarendon: Nashaun Moulton
Westmoreland: Tavia Johnson
St Thomas: Tianna Williams
Jade Normalae Simmonds