JIS: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has hailed and extended gratitude to the country’s educators who he said, continue to go “above and beyond” for the development of the nation’s children.

 

He was speaking at a ceremony held on Thursday (June 23) on the lawns of Jamaica House, where 40 educators were awarded the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for their service to education.

 

“You are being honored because you are a beacon of your chosen profession. On behalf of the Government and the people of Jamaica, I thank you,” he said.

 

The Prime Minister pointed out that Jamaica’s road to prosperity, in line with the Government’s focus on economic growth and development, is dependent on the education sector being the driving force.

 

He said he is looking to educators to embrace the Administration’s vision for Jamaica and to continue to give of their best.

 

“Even as I say thanks, let me declare that I need more from you and more faithful stewards like you to take us to levels of economic and social independence…You have made your mark; it is for us to join hands and continue the journey,” he said.

 

The awardees include active and retired teachers, principals, lecturers and education officers, who have served in the education system from 15 years to as many as 47 years.

 

Since 2005, awardees have been selected based on their outstanding service through innovation and creativity, as well as their active involvement in community development.

 

Mr. Holness said he considered it an honor to host the event and to recognise the awardees’ tremendous contribution to nation building.

 

Among the awardees is Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Dr. Maurice Smith, who was recognised for his 18 years of service.

 

Among other things, Dr. Smith has developed a self-evaluation model for schools, aimed at improving leadership and addressing the gap between upgraded and traditional high schools in Jamaica.

 

In an interview with JIS News, Dr. Smith said he was humbled and grateful to have been recognised.

 

“I am honestly speechless. It is not typical for one to be told thanks for going above and beyond the call of duty and as educators, we do that every day. We believe in what we do (and) we are thankful for the opportunity and privilege to serve our people. It is really a milestone…,” he said.

 

Fay Davy, who has contributed 47 years to the education sector, has among her accomplishments the establishment of uniformed groups at the Salt Marsh All-Age School in Trelawny, and preparing children for the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) creative folk dance competitions, earning several medals over the years.

 

Mrs. Davy believes her dedication to education and helping children achieve literacy and numeracy is what earned her the recognition.

 

“I never knew this day would come, and I greatly appreciate the reward I have been given,” she said.

 

CAPTION:

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, shakes hands with 33-year veteran in the education sector, Geraldine Allen (third right, front row), as he congratulates recipients of the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation for service to education following the ceremony at Jamaica House on June 23.