Past students give back as Jose Marti celebrates 42 years

It was another big day and big occasion for Jose Marti Technical High School.

Two groups of past students, on 10 January 2019, converged on the institution’s campus at Twickenham Park in Spanish Town, St Catherine, to make their annual contribution to the school’s anniversary celebration.

The school, which Cuba gave to Jamaica as a gift in 1976, is observing 42 years of operation and stellar contribution to national building.

The Jose Marti Judo Team, which won 11 gold medals, 2 silver, and two bronze in major competition last month.

On an annual basis, the Jose Marti Past Students’ Association (JMPSA) hosts its signature event – Founders Anniversary Celebration – in recognition of the opening of the educational institution on 10 January 1977.

The event, now in its ninth year, involves past students conducting devotion, and a past student making a presentation as guest speaker.

The devotional exercise this year was followed by the cutting of the anniversary cake, as well as presentation of awards to several students who have done exceptionally well in the areas of academics, sports and benevolence.

The JMPSA presented 17 awards while 26 benevolence awards were presented by the Jose Marti Alumni Association of New York (JMAANY).

Here are some of the students awarded this year:

– Akeem Moodie, the male student with the highest average in the Grade 7-8 category, received the Joseph Earle Trophy as well as cash bursaries.

Justin Edwards collects an award from guest speaker Alexander Shaw

– Tassianna Price, female with the highest average in the Grade 7-8 category, collected the Winston Newell trophy and cash bursaries.

– Junior Cooper, who recently attained the highest average in CAPE, received the JMAANY Award for Excellence.

Members of the Don Hinds-headed JMAANY also become mentors for the respective student recipients of the 26 benevolence awards.

The display of kindness continued when President of the Jamaica Judo Association, Dwayne Barnett, who also attended the school, made a presentation to the Jose Marti Judo Team, which won 11 gold, two silver and two bronze medals in major competition last month.

One of the awards recipients, Ashanti Green, collects her award from guest speaker Alexander Shaw

Guest speaker at the event, Alexander Shaw, who is a lawyer, past student and former teacher at the educational institution, challenged the current batch of students to reach for their goals despite the obstacles they will face.

In the meantime, Jose Marti Technical High, which is named after Cuban hero Jose Julian Marti Perez, started as a boarding institution under Principal Joseph Earle and his handpicked staff. It initially had accommodation for 560 boys and girls, who were drawn from the 14 parishes and housed in dormitories.

However, as the government struggled to find space for students, the school discontinued its boarding arrangement and converted its dorms to classrooms. It now has approximately 100 teachers and some 2000 students.

Principal, Dr Austin Wright

The school’s two groups of past students – JMAANY and JMPSA – work assiduously with the institution to support students academically and benevolently. JMAANY, which spearheads projects such as the school’s breakfast feeding programme, recently announced that it has acquired 40 computers for the institution’s e-lab.

Principal at the school, Dr Austin Wright, in the meantime, expressed gratitude for the kind gesture that the past students have been making through JMAANY as well as the JMPSA that is headed by Beverley Malcolm-Montague.


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