Angelo Laurence, Gleaner Writer
OLYMPIC SUCCESSES and Jamaica's Independence celebrations in recent weeks have cast a positive shadow over the country, which every Jamaican is basking in.
However, before the country's Olympic triumphs, there were many unsung Jamaicans who, in their own ways, were making the country proud. One such person is Lanisia Rhoden, the 2012 Rotary Club of Mandeville nominee and recipient of Rotary International's Ambassadorial Scholarship.
In a time when youths are often cast in a negative light, she has carried the torch of good morals, leadership and service to others in a manner that lights the paths for others to follow.
A high achiever, academically and in other pursuits, Rhoden's education began at the Bethabara Infant School in New Port, south Manchester. She made stops at the Villa Road All-Age School and Manchester High School, where her passion for community service was well fertilised by her teachers.
While attending the University of Technology (UTech), she made the Dean's Honour Roll for Academic Excellence, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 2006. After this, she trekked off to France to broaden her linguistic ability.
Proud of her Jamaican heritage, Rhoden returned to Jamaica after eight months, determined to be a successful and positive contributor to nation building. With a passion for volunteerism, she gave service to others through various organisations, including 3D Project, Manchester Infirmary, Homestead Place of Safety, and Maxfield Park Children's Home.
Possessing the qualities of an intellectual, coupled with her overpowering charm and grace, it was no surprise to those who knew her that she was crowned the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's Festival Queen for Manchester in 2009. During her reign, she embarked on establishing the Young Women of Purpose (YWOP) organisation dedicated to mentoring young people and steering them on a path to becoming productive citizens.
Her Rotary scholarship will be funded through the Rotary Foundation and she will be attending the University of Manchester in England, where she will study for a Master of Science degree in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship, beginning in September.
Beaming with pride, Rhoden, who received the Governor General's Achievement Award for Manchester in 2011, told The Gleaner she is "elated and honoured" to have been selected for a scholarship by such a prestigious organisation. "I will always aim to help others and make my country proud as, that way, I too can benefit," she said.