Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
OCHO RIOS, St Ann:
ST ANN residents Yanique Lowe and Leopold Williams received national recognition recently for attaining excellence in their respective fields and were duly honoured by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen at the recent awards ceremony at King's House.
In 2008 when Yanique Lowe, then a student at Ocho Rios High School passed 14 CSEC subjects, the island took notice. In 2012, having got her degree in management studies with first-class honours, she has been selected recipient of the GG Youth Award for Excellence 2012.
Lowe had earlier picked up the outstanding youth award for St Ann in the age group 18-24 years. She was later selected as the representative for the county of Middlesex before duly receiving the national recognition.
"I was feeling overwhelmed," Lowe told The Gleaner. "When I went home, I was saying to my mom, some little tears came, I said, 'Weird enough I passed this whole heap of subjects, I got a degree, but this one (GG award) really touched me the most because when I looked at some of my competitors, I was like no I don't think I would get it.' Then I remember Shelly-Ann (Fraser-Pryce) saying when she doubts herself, she ensures that she makes up for it, so that came to my mind. I was really overwhelmed."
Lowe was happy for the support she received over the years.
"Thanks to God, He has brought me through all of this," she said. "My mother has been a great support for me also my father, Roy Holness, friends, and teachers."
Her mother, Deta Hunter-Holness, was quite proud of her daughter.
"It feels good, but I'm not surprised because it's customary that we work, and I teach her to do things the right way, don't take any shortcuts. She's really a disciplined and very industrious person."
Williams, the president of the St Ann Chamber of Commerce, received the Jubilee Award of Excellence, picking up a plaque that read: "Excellence and service are the hallmarks in the life of Leopold Williams of St Ann, who has mentored and influenced many persons to achieve their individual goals."
The award is given for motivating people to achieve their goals, something that Williams has been doing for several years, even as he achieved international recognition in the insurance business while at Life of Jamaica, now Sagicor.
Said Williams: "I was able to change a lot of people's lives, take ordinary people and turn them into successful people. I do a lot of mentoring. I mentor a lot of students at HEART (Trust) and other schools in Jamaica. I've spoken at many conferences and people have told me what a difference I've made in their lives. Some tell me that I've turned around their lives to be successful at what they're doing."
People have been grateful for his help, he said.
"One of the joys is not how much you get back from those people, but it's when you see them on the road and they tell you that, boy, it was you who caused them to think this way and change their lives."
Williams has been a board member of the chamber of commerce for the last 12 years and has served on several committees, including the Membership Committee, where he served as head for many years. He has been credited with growing the membership of the chamber during his tenure.
He is the operator of the 38-room Sea Crest Hotel in Priory. He plans to continue giving and in an even bigger way.