Culture
GBR | May 12, 2022

Cumberland High students cop awards in Commonwealth Connections project

/ Our Today

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The awards that were handed out. (Photo: Contributed)

Several students from the Cumberland High School in St Catherine were the recipients of awards presented by the Commonwealth as part of a competition held to empower young people, educate them with critical values and skills, as well as make connections with other youth from across the Commonwealth.

Receiving seven awards in total, the students copped awards for – most artistic baton, the most environmentally friendly project, the project that best captured their experiences, the most innovative video and messaging, the project that best communicated ideas such as equality, diversity, and inclusion, as well as the award for best team spirit.

Thirteen-year-old Subreana Morrison shared her feelings toward the project, noting that the opportunity allowed her the chance to be bold.

Cumberland High School Team (Photo: Contributed)

“It was fun, and it was amazing, and I really enjoyed the project,” she said, adding that meeting and collaborating with teenagers from different countries “helped me to be bold because I’m really shy. It helped me to be brave”.

This sentiment was echoed by 17-year-old Demarley Cohen.

“We did learn the core values of the Commonwealth and we did try to use them in the process, and I think that was fulfilling for me and the other students as well,” the St Jago High School student explained.

St. Jago High School Team. (Photo: Contributed)

St Jago High School and Kingston Technical were among other recipients for awards for the Commonwealth project.

Also a St Catherine-based secondary institution, St Jago High won awards for team spirit as well as capturing the experience, while Kingston Technical, took home the award for most profound story.

The Caribbean Union College Secondary school team out of Trinidad and Tobago shared the award with Cumberland for most artistic baton and team spirit. 

Cumberland High School teacher Nisheka Patterson collects one of several awards. From left to right, Christopher Samuda, Jamaica Olympic Association, Daniel Shepherd, Acting British High Commissioner to Jamaica, Nisheka Patterson and Damion Campbell British Council Programme Manager. (Photo: Contributed)

Like students, teachers from the island and the twin republic were recognised for their contribution to the project. These teachers include – Nisheka Patterson from Cumberland High, Tracia Morgan Brown from St Jago and Marc Edwards from the Caribbean Union College Secondary school in Trinidad and Tobago.

Patterson shared several ways in which she believed the experience benefited the students.

““It afforded them to learn soft skills that they would not have necessarily learnt in the regular classroom setting. They learnt the art of networking. They learnt to collaborate with persons at different grade levels and so on,” she said.

British Council Programme Manager Damion Campbell pins students at the function. (Photo: Contributed)

Morgan Brown, who preferred not to dub the project a ‘competition’, noted that, if anything, it fostered togetherness, adding that through this medium students are also able to build self-confidence and this opportunity “allows them to see that children are the same everywhere. We basically share the hopes and aspirations”.

The project, which is funded by Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and the British Council, connects 120 schools across the Commonwealth in the run up to Birmingham 2022 which takes place in England from July 28 to August 8.

The ceremony is part of a wider project called Commonwealth Connections which aims to build connections among students across the Commonwealth.

Attendees at the function. (Photo: Contributed)

In order to understand the significance of these shared Commonwealth values, the British Council developed several programmes, including digital youth summits to bring young people from Commonwealth Countries together so they could talk about issues they considered important.

Sixty schools in the UK’s West Midlands region were twinned with schools in Jamaica, Trinidad, and Tobago as well as Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and Zambia. 

“It’s important to get children thinking internationally and learning about different cultures around the world. We’re proud to have used our long-established network of schools and education leaders around the world to provide these international connections,” British Council Jamaica Programme Manager Damion Campbell said.

Presenter from the United Kingdom (Photo: Contributed)

He continued: “The Games are a fantastic opportunity to develop relationships with other Commonwealth countries by bringing people together.’

That sentiment was echoed by Christopher Samuda, of the Jamaica Olympic Association, who noted that the value of the network students were developing by participating in the project.

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