Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer
Basic and secondary-level schools across Jamaica will be celebrating Jamaica Day on February 22.
This and more was announced at the official launch of Jamaica Day on Tuesday at the Joyce Robinson Hall at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Church.
The relatively short programme, which began with the singing of the National Anthem, had representatives from the Ministry of Education and its agencies recommitting support for Jamaica Day, in addition to two lovely items performed by students of the Tivoli Comprehensive High and Clan Carty Primary schools.
Jamaica Day 2013 will be celebrated under the theme 'Celebrating Jamaica: I'm On It'.
Amena Blackwood-Meeks, director of culture in the Ministry of Education, clarified the theme.
"The Jamaica 50 2012 theme was 'I'm on a Mission'. We are asking the schools to help the children decide and define what their mission is, what their personal goal for success is, and how that personal goal will help their individual schools to succeed."
Schools are also encouraged to write these goals into an improvement plan.
In delivering the keynote address Ronald Thwaites, minister of education, concluded his speech by saying, "I'm on it, hope everyone is." Earlier, Thwaites told young students, "We are a people in conversation as to what it means to be a nation and how we define ourselves."
He also encouraged students to live simple lifestyles: "Renew our love for work ... . Work is how we look forward to a better life."
And he promised his ministry's full support in the celebration of Jamaica Day.
On Jamaica Day 2013, unlike previous celebrations where the ministry celebrated the day at a 'focus school', there will be a shift to the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium. For two hours beginning at 11 a.m., all Jamaica, and in particular children, are invited to tune into CVM Television for a live broadcast.
Schools will determine whether they begin their individual cele-brations before or after the live transmission.
The programme will include a parade, a reading of the Jamaica Day Proclamation, a face-off of gospel choirs, and a medley of patriotic songs. Communities will also parade interpretations of national symbols, while there will also be a tribute to the first Africans to arrive in Jamaica with drumming, as well as a segment that salutes schools who have turned 50 in 2013. The celebrations will culminate with a concert.