Students dream big

Grade one student at Mannings Hill Primary School Kelecia Calame gives a high five to teacher at Russel’s Primary and Infant in St Elizabeth Mecalea Powell, while joining in the fun are president of the Insurance Company of the West Indies Group Paul Lalor (first left), Mannings Hill Primary School teacher Kadine Fisher (second left), St Catherine Primary School teacher Sanika Roberts (third left), Jamaica Teachers’ Association President La Sonja Harrison, Russel’s Primary and Infant School grade six student DeAndre Simpson and Grade one student at St Catherine Primary School Sarah-kay Campbell, during the handing over of cheques to teachers following the Insurance Company of the West Indies competition. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

It was all by chance that their wishes for their favourite teachers would come true, when Kelecia Calame, Sarah-kay Campbell and DeAndre Simpson entered an essay competition detailing the dream gift for their educators.

Following a live draw hosted by Insurance Company of the West Indies (ICWI) Group recently, their teachers, Kadine Fisher, Sanika Roberts and Mecalea Powell, respectively, emerged as winners among 210 applicants.

It was a heart-warming moment on Monday, when the educators collected their cash prize of $100,000 each, and were embraced by their students who expressed their appreciation for their educators.

“I feel happy. My teacher is nice and kind and she’s helpful,” grade one student Kelecia, who attends Mannings Hill Primary School in St Andrew, told the Jamaica Observer.

Grade one student at Mannings Hill Primary School Kelecia Calame embraces her teacher Kadine Fisher who won the Insurance Company of the West Indies Group competition. President at Insurance Company of the West Indies Group Paul Lalor looks on. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

She wanted her teacher to receive a laptop or be treated with a spa day.

Emphasising that she was well in need of a laptop, Fisher said the cash will be used to purchase the her new computer. “I am very excited. I was very surprised when I got called for winning. I am going to school and working at the same time so this laptop will come in handy. My present laptop is moving very slow so I am grateful for it.”

Grade one student at St Catherine Primary School Sarah-kay wanted her teacher to get teaching equipment.

“I am glad she got it. I love her. She teaches me how to write,” said Sarah-kay.

Her teacher Sanika Roberts said she will be putting the funds to good use.

“I am happy about it and I am grateful for the fact that she considered me. I will certainly get a printer for my class and a laptop just for our school. I was surprised but based on the relationship with my student, I knew I would be considered. I have never won anything before so I really appreciate it; it’s a good gesture,” said Roberts.

Powell, who is a grade six educator at Russel’s Primary and Infant School in St Elizabeth, was just as elated.

Her student DeAndre wanted her to win a laptop or $100,000.

“I am excited and surprised because when his mother told me, I wasn’t expecting to win. I am happy they selected me, it means they have confidence in me,” she said.

Explaining why he chose his teacher for the competition, DeAndre said: “She is always working hard, she is very nice, she always encourages us to do our work, realises our dreams and has our best interests at heart.”

The live draw was part of the ICWI Group’s Dream Big Teacher’s Day Campaign which was designed to recognise the nation’s teachers for their hard work.

Each student also received $10,000 gift voucher for their participation.

President of the ICWI Group Paul Lalor said the initiative, which started last year, will help to build a better teacher-student relationship and allow teachers to feel more appreciated.

“It gives the kids a great opportunity to speak about the things they love about their teacher and what their teacher helps them to do. Our teachers need to be recognised and I don’t think Jamaica does much to recognise them and we lose too many of them abroad. Any little bit we can do to help build up the spirit of our local teachers is something that ICWI will continue to do,” he said.

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