July 2023 Volume 19

KCOBA USA Inc. Annual Reunion & Awards Gala 2023

George B. Bell
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As we all try to shake off the deadly effects of Covid-19, individuals and entities yearn for some normalcy. It was in this vein that KCOBA USA Inc. ("the association") embarked on hosting its Annual Reunion & Awards Gala on Saturday, May 6th. 2023.

Please view pictures here: https://kcobausa.org/?_gallery=gg-41-2308

Yes, in its 41st year of continuous impact on our beloved alma, Kingston College, the event's theme was appropriately dubbed, "Unity. Resilience. Strength." To be effective for over four decades, the association needed to be all the above and more. Events such as the Annual Reunion and Awards Gala provide the FUNDraising "dollars" that are desperately needed to finance the myriads of projects and programs that the association underwrites at the school.

The association continues to make meaningful impact in all facets of the school's life - ranging from providing 150 scholarships to students to transformative contribution to infrastructure development. One such project is the expansion of the Douglas Forrest Building, and most recently, the renovation of the Science block. These are generational changes, and because of this kind of impact, it is imperative that KCOBA USA Inc. continues to grow and be supported.

The Reunion and Awards Gala is one of the largest gatherings in support of the mission work. This year's event was used to acknowledge the association's many initiatives and partnerships over the years. It also provided a forum to celebrate our honorees for their contributions to Kingston College and our communities.

The evening commenced with a Cocktail Hour, which featured a live performance by the David Lee Jones Band. The performance was well received by the patrons. The Band gave way to the colorful (yes, purple & white clad) Ms. Ingrid Dixon, who assumed her role as Mistress of Ceremony. Sadly, her co-presenter for the night, Mr. Robert "Bob" DeZousa was sidelined because of unforeseen circumstances. Notwithstanding, Ingrid was fantastic as she skillfully executed the tasks of MC.

Invocation was conducted by the association's longest tenured board member, Mr. Norman Scott (Class of ’56). Not lost on most of the gathering was the fact that Mr. Scott did prayer from his smart phone. Invocation was followed by president Dwayne Montaque's welcome remarks. Principal Dave Myrie's "taped" message was next followed by greetings from the Union of Jamaican Alumni Association (UJAA). This was presented by UJAA's director, Ms. Natasha Davids.

Over the years, our patrons, particularly the ladies, consistently clamored for more dancing. With a slight tweak in the program, we honored the ladies' wish by providing some dancing just after the messages. The dancing also allowed the patrons to work off the "intakes" from the Cocktail Hour and prepared them for dinner. With renewed appetites, dinner was served. The presentation of awards took place during dinner.

The Community Service Awards were presented to Ms. Joan Lewis and Mr. Christopher Roberts (owners/operators of the Door Restaurant). They were recognized for their entrepreneurship, but more importantly, for their philanthropy in the community and beyond. The Distinguished Alumni Awards honorees were Mr. Robert Samuels for his contribution to the sport of cricket; Mr. George Atkins for his sporting exploits (multi-sports at Kingston College); and Mr. Lorne Donaldson (Head Coach of the Jamaican Women's National Football Team) for his contribution to soccer, globally.

The "non-KC" people in attendance were further exposed to the "KC Brotherhood" as Old Boys travelled from near and far to celebrate the moments with their schoolmates from decades ago. In fact, some of the relationships started even before high school. The energy was real as grown men expressed themselves in laughter and even tears. In addition to the plaques that were awarded, the honorees also received citations from the office of NY Senator, the Hon. Leroy Comrie. Thanks to Ms. Stacey Osbourne for facilitating and doing the honors.

The Mistress of Ceremony had the gathering's attention all night, and this allowed her to easily navigate activities such as the raffle drawings, gates prizes, and surprise gifts. After a masterful job of MCing, Ingrid turned the mike over to Mr. Christopher Campbell, KCOBA USA Inc.'s director, for the vote of thanks and recognition. Chris was effusive and elaborate in performing his tasks, yet not robbing the patrons of their time on the dance floor. Soul Tone Disco with DJ Prentice took charge, and the patrons were treated to two plus hours of dancing music - the dance floor was packed.

In prior years, the music usually finished (lights came on) with revelers looking around for more. On this occasion, most of the patrons danced to fatigue - Yes, they got more than enough music; they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. On exiting, some were asking when was the next function. All early feedbacks were positive. Great job to the team for pulling it off. Next year, we will improve on this year; so, be there!!! Thank you to all our supporters and partners - we could not have done it without you. Please mark your calendars – The weekend of September 9th, 2023: ROPER CUP NY Edition and/or Back to School FISH FRY. FORTIS Forever!

George B. Bell '85

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