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US Embassy awards student ambassadors

Published:Saturday | March 17, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Sheena Gayle, Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:Chargé d'Affaires at the United States Embassy in Kingston, Isiah Parnell, has reminded high-school students that a life of criminality is not the only option for success as they seek to make an impact on society.

"We want good citizens. We want people who are well trained to work in the global economy," he said on Wednesday during the US Ambassador's Academic Achievement Awards function held at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

Speaking in the context of the allure of illegal activities such as the the lottery scam has for youngsters, Parnell charged that being educated holds great value and should not be discredited.

"We think that being well-educated means that the kinds of opportunities kids see in joining gangs, being involved in lottery scams, and other nefarious activities really won't have the glamour, or be the only option, for young kids as they enter into adulthood," he said.

The embassy hosted its fourth Ambassador's Academic Achievement Awards function since it was launched in June 2011 by Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater. The initiative is intended to encourage students who have achieved academic excellence and to underscore the commitment of the United States government to education in Jamaica.

"It is really about improving education and recognising solid academic achievement. It is one of the pillars that we have at the US Embassy in Kingston with the realisation that it's not just good for Jamaica, but the US as well," Parnell said.

The western leg of the awards ceremony saw 22 students from schools in St Ann, Trelawny, St James, Hanover, and Westmoreland receiving awards.