May 2019 Volume 15

KCOBA USA Inc. 10th Anniversary Panel Presentation Awards Ceremony

George B. Bell
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Thursday, March 28, 2019 was an historic day for our beloved institution, Kingston College. On this day, our great school was marching towards its 32 nd ISSA Grace Boys & Girls Championships (Champs). On this day, also, KCOBA USA Inc. held its 10th Anniversary Panel Presentation & Awards ceremony in the St. Augustine Chapel at KC’s north street campus. The event showcased over 120 students on scholarships, including New York Chapter’s scholarship awardees, The George Thompson Memorial Scholarship awardees (Atlanta Chapter). The scholarship program operated by KCOBA USA Inc. also includes over seventy-five ‘Branded-name’ scholarships, such as the Ronald S. Stephenson Memorial Scholarship, the Haidie Lee Anderson Memorial Scholarship, KCOBA (Toronto Chapter) Scholarship, and KCOBA (New England) Scholarship. The gathering also included members of the Joyce Baxter Math Club, members of the Robotics Club, and other student representatives from programs we sponsor. Joining these groups of students were KCOBs from all over the world (visiting for Champs etc.), families and friends of the students, scholarship donors and supporters of the program, members from other KCOBA chapters such as Mr. Alvin Binns (President of KCOBA, Atlanta), Dr. Ivor Nugent - KCOBA Florida, Jeff Hoyes – KCOBA-Tampa Connection, and of course a large contingent of KCOBA USA Inc. board members. The afternoon featured a panel presentation, which culminated in celebrating with and honoring the success of the students. Prizes were given to the top scholar and most improved scholar, Top math student and most improved math student.

As is now customary, the afternoon was moderated by the effervescent, Mrs. Marvia Wilson (Guidance counsellor – North street). She commenced by inviting Mrs. Nadine Eschoe (Guidance counsellor – Melbourne) to do prayer. Principal, Dave Myrie was invited to give his welcome remarks. Mr. Myrie welcomed everyone and reiterated his message from previous years, “nothing was free, someone had to work for it”, he directed at the scholarship recipients et al. He had the audience applauded the Old Boys as he related their generosity to Bishop Gibson’s vision of brotherhood, where each one help one. Principal Myrie acknowledged R. Perry Bloomfield for his ongoing efforts with Douglas Forrest Building and other KC projects.

Mr. Rainford ‘Perry’ Bloomfield (President, KCOBA USA Inc.) conveyed greetings on behalf of the New York chapter. He congratulated the students and reminded them that the association was very happy to invest in their future. However, he asked that the scholarship recipients appreciate the ‘investments’ (scholarships) and use them as platforms to soar. Mr. Bloomfield, on behalf of the NY chapter, asked Madame Hall to make an impromptu presentation of an ‘Old Boy’ ring to Principal Myrie. The gesture left the usually eloquent and verbose, Mr. Myrie, speechless and partially choked up.

The afternoon continued with annual reports from the presidents of the Math Club and the Robotics Club. These are two of the programs that are funded and fully supported by KCOBA USA Inc. For the third year, the program included present scholarship recipients serving as panelists. The students selected this year were: Mr. Malike Orane, Mr. Ricardo Ricketts, and Mr. Joel Samuels. The students took the opportunity to publicly thank their scholarship benefactors. One such benefactor, Mr. Basil Anderson, was sitting right in front of his scholarship recipient. The recipients communicated how being on the scholarships impacted their lives and, indeed, the lives of their families. The stories were heart wrenching, yet motivating.

The senior panelists, introduced by President Bloomfield, were Mr. Andre Clark (class of 2017 and former scholarship recipient) – UWI HLA scholar; Mr. Basil Anderson (class of 1964) – Retired Vice Chief of Staples Inc.; Mr. Royland Gordon (class of 1999 and KCOBA USA Inc. Board member) – CPA; and Mr. Steven Davis (class of 1981) – College Professor. Unavoidably absent was Mr. George Jograj (class of 1957) – Philanthropist and former owner/operator of Mrs. Maxwell Bakery, Brooklyn, NY. Each panelist addressed the gathering from slightly different vantage point. Mr. Clarke, for example, spoke on the transition from KC to the UWI. He explained that unlike KC, where there were teachers and others readily able and willing to assist students, at the UWI, students were forced to be more disciplined and self-sufficient. Mr. Anderson acknowledged his humble beginnings and mentioned how he had to be resilient to survive the many challenges he encountered. Mr. Gordon implored the students not to be distracted by others, thereby allowing someone else to write their stories. Similarly, Mr. Davis echoed, “don’t let anyone define you”, and he spoke of his struggles while at KC. He declared that he was not an “A” student while attending KC; however, he subsequently earned several degrees including a PHD. The Panelists utterances obviously resonated with the students and this was evident in the Q & A section of the program. In this section, the students were allowed to direct questions to the gentlemen on the panel. As usual, this section was lively as it generated a number of direction-seeking questions from the students. The interaction was well received by the students and all in attendance. Impromptu cash presentations were made to the students that quizzed the panelists courtesy of one of the scholarship program’s ardent donor, Ms. Bernadette Atkins.

Mrs. Watson was then asked to make the announcements and presentations to the respective winners. Top scholar – Mr. Ricardo Ricketts, who received a laptop and cash; Most Improved scholar – Mr. Najae Francis, who received a tablet and cash; Top student (Math Club) – Mr. Anuoke Matthews, who received a laptop and cash; and Most Improved student (Math Club) – Mr. Justin Paris, who received a tablet and cash. The Top George Thompson Memorial scholar, Mr. Michael Coke, received a tablet from Mr. Alvin Binns, President KCOBA, Atlanta. The vote of thanks was done by the deputy head boy and scholarship recipient, Mr. Ricardo Ricketts. The formal part of the program ended with everyone singing the national anthem. The afternoon’s event was a distinct reminder that the scholarship program and other similar programs are critical to the lives of the students and as such, it is imperative that these programs continue to flourish.

Accordingly, you too can invest in scholarships this September and join us next year, the Thursday afternoon of Champs, in the chapel for the 11 th Panel Presentation & Awards Ceremony. Thank you to all the sponsors of prizes, scholarship donors, KCOBs, Board members, and family & friends that were in attendance. The association wishes to extend a special thank you to the scholarship administrators and organizers of the event, and of course, congratulations to all the students, who are all winners for excelling in spite of the odds.

The entire gathering relocated to the huge tent for food, festivity, and frolicking. A big thank you to the KC Music Club for the extraordinary entertainment. If you are able to, please support KCOBA USA Inc.’s next event on its calendar: Ocean 10 – Boat Cruise, July 28, 2019 aboard the Liberty Belle sailing out of Brooklyn Army Terminal.

Fortis Still Rising!

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