Governor general achievement award

Published: Saturday | September 19, 2009


At his inauguration, Jamaica's Governor General Sir Patrick Allen profoundly said: "I believe must be etched in every classroom ... it must be internalised in the heart of every student until dreams are born as to whom they can become and the contribution they can make to the development of their nation." On Thursday, August 27, Cornwall's finest were presented with the Governor General Achievement Awards at a ceremony held at Roi's Villas, Trelawny.

Recipients believe

Cornellia Riley

'We can change Ja'


"I believe in humanity. I believe in Jamaica. I believe I can be the best medical researcher and practitioner, thereby making my contribution to the improvement of medical care in Jamaica."

It takes a lot of inner strength and willpower, but medical student Cornellia Riley is not afraid to do so. She was selected as one of the Governor General Youth Award for Excellence recipient representing the parish of Trelawny.

Cornellia was handed her plaque as a mark of recognition for her invaluable service to the development of individuals and, by extension, nation building.

Said Cornellia: "I believe as young people we can change Jamaica through hard work and dedication, by playing our part in building our country and, by extension, the Caribbean and the world at large. I believe I can continue with the process started by others."

Referring to the scourge of crime and violence gripping our nation, Cornellia believes that with more of the nation's youth being educated and employed, crime can be eradicated or controlled.

"I believe that crime has really taken its toll on our country and it is time something be done about it. The change can begin with all of us and I believe I can start the change by making myself as available as I possibly can towards the further development of our youth, which would assist in building a better Jamaica. I believe I can," she stated.

Cornellia , who turns 26 in October, was born in Spanish Town, St Catherine, but later moved to Trelawny, where she received her education at Duncan's All-Age and Westwood High School.

- Noel Thompson

Noel Matherson

Charting a new course


"I believe that regardless of my socio-economic background ... I can always aspire to be better, if not the best, at whatever it is that I chose to do," said a confident Noel Forbes Matherson.

He was one of two persons selected as the Governor General Youth Awardee for Excellence from St Elizabeth.

Matherson, who graduated from Munro College in St Elizabeth in June, was the first of 14 awardees to be presented with his award by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen at the ceremony.

Adopting the Governor General's theme: 'I Believe,' Matherson strongly believes that through engendering hope and positivity he can transform his countrymen.

"I believe that by displaying belief and confidence in the potential of others, irrespective of their social standing, I can do my part, if not more, to create a more confident, compassionate and egalitarian society. I believe that by showing respect and humility towards my fellow men and my environs I can chart a new cultural path for the next generation of Jamaican youth to pursue."

Matherson has been making his postive contribution to society.

He has spearheaded a canned food drive on behalf of the Santa Cruz Infirmary, as well as a toy drive for several children at the Black River Hospital.

Matherson was born at the Victoria Jubilee Hospital in Kingston on October 12, 1989. At one, his mother took him to Seven Corners in St Elizabeth where he was raised by his grandparents - Beryl and Landine Stewart.

"I firmly believe that by reaching out to others I can empower them to achieve their full potential, and in doing so propel our country to greatness," Matherson stated.

- Noel Thompson

Flemoi Gordon

'Never accept mediocrity'


Flemoi Gordon's distinguished academic achievements and leadership in his school and community have set the stage for him to enter the field of science and medicine. And to contribute to innovation in science and the health-care needs of Jamaicans.

The 22-year-old was born in Spring Garden, St James, and upon being successful in his GSAT examinations, he was awarded a place at the Manning's School in Westmoreland. He was the recipient of a full scholarship from the Westmoreland Co-operative Credit Union.

At the recent awards ceremony, Flemoi stood proudly as one of the awardees for Westmoreland. He was presented with the Governor General Youth Award for Excellence.

In observance of Governor General Sir Patrick Allen's theme: 'I Believe', Flemoi says he believes things and thoughts embedded in one's mind, once it is conceived can become a reality.

"My life, like others, is governed by faith. As a Christian, I have learnt that without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is. And that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Faith without work is dead. Therefore, in order for me to have faith, I must believe. When I believe I can achieve anything I attempt," said the young Flemoi Gordon.

He said that his achievement is the result of hard work and determination.

"I always tell myself that I can achieve anything through God," he asserts.

He is challenging other young individuals never to accept that mediocrity is enough and that they should never procrastinate, as it only steals the limited time they already have.

- Noel Thompson

Kayanna Senior

'Giving back!'


Youth awardee Kayanna Senior believes the key to nation building is by developing its greatest asset - its people. This, she continues, should be done by whatever means necessary.

"I believe that youth development can be achieved through active volunteerism, as I am a proud example of this. I have made some contributions, but I believe I can further be a part of the process to developing and building a better nation," she states.

At 23, Kayanna has made an impact on the lives of many residents in and around Hanover, the parish of her birth. This is through her insightful co-ordinating health fairs. Holding the position as project chairman of the programme for the past two years, Kayanna has become more passionate and determined to pursue a career in the medical field.

She was honoured as a worthy recipient of the Governor General Youth Award for Excellence at the 17th staging of the ceremony.

"The possibilities are endless. Get in the know, believe that you can achieve anything you set your mind to do no matter the struggles," she says.

"Volunteering your time and God-blessed talents, especially in your community, proves to be a great way to develop yourself, your personality, build self-esteem and offers you avenues to discover your true calling. It provides networking opportu-nities, leadership training, and a chance to 'give back' to a society that needs your positive change, however small it may be."

Kayanna is a member of the Jaycees of Hopewell, which afforded her the opportunity to network and gain leadership qualities.

-Noel Thompson

Stephen Dennis

'Hard work and dedication'


"I believe that the key to success is hard work and dedication. The characteristics of what will make one successful is not what has happened to you but what you do with the experiences learnt," states Stephen Dennis.

Dennis, although only 19, is committed to adopting the right principles that stand him in good stead to become a rounded adult. He does not believe that anyone should compromise their position in striving to be successful. In spite of one's circumstances, he believes that the sky remains the limit.

A very important chapter was written in young Dennis' life recently when he was selected and awarded the prestigious Governor General Youth Award for Excellence. He is one of the three 2009 recipients from Hanover.

Dennis is currently reading for his bachelor's degree in Pure and Applied Sciences at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus. His ambition is to become an engineer and he has been working assiduously to achieve this goal ever since he was attending the Lucea Preparatory School in Hanover.

"I believe that starting with the man in the mirror, if that person is willing to make the change others will follow suit. If I can help a child by teaching him/her something new he can apply what he has learned to help his/her friends, and the trend will continue.

"I believe the problems besieging our beloved country, such as crime, violence and poverty, are all linked. I believe I can help change our country for the better by taking the first step in making the change and then help others to make the change. I believe, I can," Dennis states.

- Noel Thompson

Katrina Grant

'No boundary to achieving'


Katrina Grant has been described by community members as an avid community-service person who has always gone beyond her means to give of self and service to others.

Only 25 years of age, Katrina has made an indelible mark on the lives of several persons in Westmoreland, where she was born, as well as some of her batchmates at the Northern Caribbean University. She is reading for a bachelor's degree in Business Administration.

It was her involvement in the development of others why she was one of two persons selected for the Governor General Youth Award for Excellence for Westmoreland.

In keeping with Governor General Sir Patrick Allen's theme - 'I Believe', Katrina believes that whatever the mind can conceive you can achieve.

"I am guided by that philosophy and there is no boundary to achieving one's goal and aspiration, once you have the ambition and determination to rise above the odds. There is no greater joy than the joy of service, such as giving back to society. It also aids in the development as an individual," Katrina said.

"I am poor but I believe I can still make a positive contribution to the development of this country. I urge other young persons to play an active role in nation building by utilising their God-given talents to make a difference, as the change we seek is looking right back at us in the mirror."

She started the ICAN Foundation, which is geared at alleviating illiteracy among the adult population in her community.

She is reminding Jamaica that it does not matter one's age or gender or their status in life, it is the strength that lies within that will make a difference.

- Noel Thompson

Melody Golding

Tune of selflessness


The spotlight shone on 21-year-old Melody Golding as one of the 2009 recipients of the prestigious Governor General Youth Award for Excellence for Trelawny.

Melody, like other recipients across the county of Cornwall, has come a long way on her journey to becoming a recipient.

"I believe that God has blessed each individual with the talents and qualities to make a difference. It is my duty to positively affect the lives of those with whom I interact and inspire them to draw on those abilities so that the spirit of this nation may be renewed," Melody told The Gleaner in an interview.

"To motivate and encourage. To live as a model of perseverance, hard work, dedication and faith. To build Jamaica through altruism and innovation. To be a friend. To daily embody and fulfil the pledge made to Jamaica to serve with my love, loyalty, wisdom, courage and strength, It is my duty - I believe, I can, with God, I will," she said.

Melody was born in Clark's Town, Trelawny. While growing up, she took a liking to electronics and engineering, areas most people would agree are a 'boy's thing.' Today, she is completing her degree in electrical engineering at the University of Technology (UTech).

Melody is a past student of the Sawyers All-Age School in upper Trelawny and Westwood High in the same parish.

Through her hall of residence at UTech, Golding has contributed to children's homes and assisted children through the Homework Programme at the Jamaica National Children's Home and the Mona Baptist Church. She has displayed tenacity by efficiently managing her schoolwork and facilitate charitable work.

- Noel Thompson

Marsha Imghard-Smalling

Using education to empower


Educator Marsha Imghard-Smalling remains resolute that education is the key element that will propel Jamaica towards national growth and development.

"The value of education cannot be overemphasised as it may be our only true hope of survival in an era that is decorated with signs of hopelessness and lack of opportunities. Igniting hopes, dreams and possibilities for all, energises and drives me to persistently and selflessly offer quality education to as many persons as possible. It was not by chance that I chose a career in the field of education; it was by choice," she says.

She is one of two recipients of the 2009 Governor General Youth Award for Excellence for the parish of St Elizabeth. She has always been motivated to become active in nation building. She became involved in teaching and has found this the best way to make her contribution.

Imghard-Smalling is principal at the Siloah Primary School in St Elizabeth. "I believe that through my personal achievements and my love for people and service I can touch lives in a positive way, and influence those who have benefitted from my service to reciprocate this service even at a higher level to as many persons as possible," she states.

She said she had always believed that the best way to ignite dreams and possibilities for people is through education, adding that she has committed that through effective leadership and selfless service she hopes to influence her staff, students, and parents to collaborate and work harmoniously towards achieving their achievement goals.

She is encouraging teachers and principals to continue to believe in themselves and their students in their pursuit of excellence.