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Stabroek News

Calabar mourns slain student
published: Tuesday | January 10, 2006

Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer


Students of Calabar High School participate in a special devotional service in rememberance of fellow student Giovanne McKenzie who was murdered last Saturday. The students observed a minute of silence on the first day of school for 2006. - RICARDO MAKYN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER.

HAD GIOVANNI McKenzie been in the chapel at Calabar High School for the start of its new term yesterday, it is likely he would have sung with as much gusto as his schoolmates to the hymns, Together Again and He Has Made Me Glad.

But, instead of giving thanks in prayer and enjoying the usual post-Christmas banter with classmates, Giovanni's fourth form classmates grieved his death at the hands of gunmen two days earlier.

POLICE FOLLOWING LEADS

Police say the 16-year-old was murdered at 3:25 a.m. at his Upper Elletson Road home in east Kingston.

Yesterday, head of the Kingston East Police Division, Superintendent Doric Sinclair, told The Gleaner that no arrests had been made in the case. He said the police were 'following strong leads.'

In his address at devotion, school chaplain, the Reverend Harris Cunningham, paid tribute to the fallen student whom he said was a victim of Jamaica's violent culture.

Referring to the apostle John's vision of a new Heaven in the book of Revelations, he said Jamaica needs similar redemption.

"We want to see a picture of a new Jamaica. Even in times of achievement we are clouded by tragedy," said Rev. Harris. "It's a part of the picture we would like to see pass."

Calvin Rowe, a past student of the school who taught Giovanni religious education, described him as an 'average student academically' who was a member of the Calabar Cadet Unit which was voted top among its peers in 2005.

MATURING STUDENT

"He was maturing gradually. He played the usual boyish pranks, but nothing severe," Mr. Rowe, who is also a fourth form supervisor, told The Gleaner.

Several of his classmates said they first heard of his death hours after the incident on Saturday. They remembered Giovanni as quiet and Christian-minded.

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