InspiredStudents.org Newsletter:


Students
Inside This Newsletter
InspiredStudents.org readers can expect to be informed about educational challenges as well as stories of success. Our students have benefited from the support of thoughtful sponsors and volunteers who have assisted them on their journey towards academic excellence. Take for example the story of St. Peter Claver Primary School, an institution with a troubled history, but now a stellar example of what can be achieved if socially-minded people come together to invoke positive change. As we have focused on challenges affecting Jamaica, in future newsletters we aim also to confront educational barriers that exist in other Caribbean islands as well. 
Our Students
Congratulations to our 2010 scholarship winners Zaheer Robinson (University of West Indies), Latoya Thomas (University of West Indies) and Merrice Scully (University of Technology, Jamaica).
 
Scholarship Recipient

I want to thank InspiredStudent.org for providing me with this scholarship grant to assist with my studies. It maybe immaterial to many, but to me it means one step closer to fulfilling my educational goal.

Furthermore, this grant has reaffirmed my belief in education and has proven to me that hard work and prayer is the key to mastering any obstacles or road block in my way. I will spend every dollar with an appreciative heart and a thoughtful mind. Finally, I want to implore InspiredStudents.org to continue the great work of supporting students who are potential leaders of tomorrow. I will forever remember this assistance and the great joy it has brought me. As the late Christopher Wallace said “No Dream is too big”, I will forever live by this phrase so that InspiredStudents.org can be proud.

Thank you. Yours Faithfully
Zaheer Robinson


Student Update:

Zaheer is currently completing his last year at UWI Mona Campus


Scholarship Recipient

Dear InspiredStudents.org,

The scholarship programme to which your organization so generously contributed for 2010 academic year, was very well received and extremely beneficial to my immediate needs. In this time of recession, it is greatly appreciated.

As I embark on my career path, this award will serve as an incentive to me. I wish your organization all the best in its endeavor.

Once again, many thanks. Respectfully yours,
Latoya Thomas


Student Update:

Latoya Thomas has now successfully graduated from the University of West Indies and is now taking graduate studies in Law.
Corporate Sponsors
ResumeToronto.ca is a proud supporter of InspiredStudents.org
To assist with fundraising efforts, ResumeToronto.ca is proudly providing sponsors with free entry level resume writing services in return for donating more than $75 to fundraising projects at InspiredStudents.org

ResumeToronto.ca

Have a business and would like to support our cause for increased access to education? Contact us at service@inspiredstudents.org to learn more about service and product donations.

Jamaica Educational Facts

Many Caribbeans migrate to North America in hopes of better opportunities. However, if they do not start off on the right foot in their home country, it will be difficult for them to adjust and succeed in North American: educational systems and work environments which are filled with discrimination, social inequalities, and marginalization. The Minister of Education in Jamaica visited Canada, in late 2010 and had an open discussion about some of the issues impacting education systems in the Caribbean region, Jamaica especially. Below are some facts which reveal the effects of an inadequate education system in Jamaica.

* Over 11,000 Jamaican children between 12 and 16 years old are not in school

* About one-third of the children who do finish primary school are illiterate

* Almost 25% of all Jamaican girls have had at least one child by the age of 18

*Approximately 142,000 youths are out of school and out of work. About 25% have not gone beyond grade 9

Factors affecting the education system’s effectiveness in Jamaica

* Lack of resources

* Lack of trained staff that are able to deal with issues of disadvantaged children, particularly students with learning disabilities

* Education financing is disproportionately directed to the higher level of education in Jamaica. This is an issue because the higher level of education specifically in Jamaica serves a small amount of people. Pre-school and primary schools are under financed

* Inadequate staffing and infrastructure ex: schools in rural areas where teacher-student ratio is 1-60

Although many of the issues need to be confronted and revamped by policy makers and government officials, we can combat other areas of these issues such as helping raise funds for school infrastructure projects, school lunch programs, arts and culture, leisure and teacher training programs, as well as purchasing school materials and resources.

Mission Statement
Empower our developing world by enriching the minds of our future leaders. Our mission is to connect people through our online micro-funding format for the sake of global prosperity, empowering individuals to sponsor high educational achievers and initiatives in financial need.
What We Do
Our website enables individuals to select a student or project to sponsor. By financially assisting these individuals towards achieving their educational goals, sponsors can impact the lives of whole communities.
Who We Are
As a not-for-profit organization, we are constantly working to illustrate the effects that improved access to education has on eliminating the global income gap and the impact on the lives of students who receive it. Education is known as the world's great equalizer and InspiredStudents.org partners with socially-minded people to develop an improved and sustainable society.
Board of Directors

Ozzie Saunds, Director and Founder

Jessica Rayne, Social Development Advisor

Krista Jennings, Fundraising Manager

Felicia Carty, Editor

Jobs and Volunteer
Would you like to help increase access to education by working at InspiredStudents.org or by volunteering? We need your help with the following 2011 fundraising initiatives and volunteer roles. 
- Benefit Concert
- Fundraising Dinner
- Bingo Nights
- Car Wash
- Charity Ball
- Art Sale
- Bake Sale
- Staff Writers 
Contact us today at jobs@inspiredstudents.org
St. Peter Claver Primary

Inner-city schools in Kingston Jamaica have been characterized by impoverishment, crime, and violence for decades. Among the many schools that are faced with such challenges, at last we can say change is possible with the collaboration of all sectors of society. St. Peter Claver Primary school is a true representation of “change from within”. St. Peter Claver Primary School is located in West Kingston and caters to approximately 1000 students between the ages of 6-11. This school’s transformation did not happen over night; however, this school has managed to overcome many issues in their 15 years of operation by creating strong partnerships with the private and public sector, NGOs, academia, and the local community. Not only has St. Peters managed to enhance their educational services by producing better literacy and GSAT scores among their students, but they have successfully extended their support to the community as well. They have acknowledged the importance of family support in regards to academic achievement and future success, and have implemented strategies that involve parents in their child’s educational process, resulting in higher achievement from these students. In doing this they have tackled issues of poverty that affect academic success. They also created extra-curricular activities such as music, arts and physical education to enhance children’s personal and social development while broadening their interests and opportunities.

St. Peters

The reforms in management, teaching techniques, administration, and learning in addition to community supporters and financial donors have proven to create more opportunities for these students and the community by inspiring excellence.

Please support our fundraising efforts for St. Peters Claver Primary by sponsoring this initiative.

 

Fun Jamaican Facts

The popularity of dancehall has spawned dance moves that help to make parties and stage performances more energetic. Many dance moves seen in hip-hop videos are actually variations of dancehall dances.

CNN - Jamaican dancing goes global

Jamaica is the first team from the English-speaking Caribbean to qualify for the Football (Soccer) World Cup. This was the 1998 championship.

YouTube - Reggae Boyz

Jamaica stands strong in 3rd place on the list of countries to win the Miss World titles the most! [Hmmm!] The only countries to have won it more than Jamaica is India, Venezuela and the UK , but considering the size of Jamaica , you have to say that this achievement is monumental!

YouTube - Lisa Hanna

Apart from the United States , Jamaica has won the most world and Olympic medals.

YouTube - Usain Bolt

Jamaica was the first tropical country to enter the IOC Winter Olympics. The bob sleigh team's efforts inspired the film ‘Cool Runnings’.

YouTube - Cool Runnings (Ice Clip)

Had electricity, running water, railways and phone cards before the United States
Has the most "churches" per square mile of any country in the world. *(Source-Guinness Book of World Records) Over 1,600 churches all over Jamaica . That number is growing.
ARTICLES

Afro-Caribbean Males and the Education Crisis
By Jessica Rayne

It is not a surprise to many of us that Afro-Caribbean males have not been adequately represented in post-secondary schools. During my fourth year in university I decided to pursue my honours thesis on this topic, after doing an exchange program at the University of the West Indies. In 2009 the university had a 69/31 ratio of women to men. What is striking about this statistic is not the fact that there are more women enrolled in the university than men, as women tend to always out number men in education in the western world, but it is the large disparity between the two genders. Furthermore, even when these males are compared to their Indo-Asian Caribbean counterparts and their Canadian counterparts, Afro-Caribbean males’ presence is significantly less.

The factors that perpetuate these statistics are different in Canada and the Caribbean. In Canada, institutionalized racism, immigration patterns, low-socioeconomic status, and family structure are characteristics that contribute to the Afro-Caribbean males under achievements. However, a key factor enabling the reproduction of this trend has to do with the fact that many of these males do not perceive they will be rewarded for their educational pursuits. Literature and statistics reveal that post-secondary education does not translate into upward social mobility for this particular group, which influences their decision to pursue post-secondary education. Black males are paid lower than most male visible minorities in Canada. The lack of black male role models to display the rewards of education makes it difficult for these men to believe that pursuing post-secondary education would be a rewarding option, especially in Canadian society.

African American Male

A UN study on gender inequalities in the Caribbean revealed that Jamaica is one of the only countries where emphasis on education is solely placed on the female. From an early age, women are reared to obtain high academic achievement while men are given much less attention in this area. This cultural value is important to illustrate because it transcends across borders. Blacks are the third largest minority group in Canada with the majority being of Caribbean descent. In 2001, almost all Blacks (97%) lived in urban areas and nearly one half (47%) of the Black population, about 310,500, lived in the Toronto census metropolitan area. In Toronto, 57% of Blacks were foreign-born. Close to three-quarters (73%) of the 178,200 foreign-born Blacks in Toronto were born in the Caribbean, and South and Central America, mainly from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. These statistics depicts how close to home issues of the Caribbean are. Large percentages of Caribbeans immigrate to Canada making them an integral part of the Canadian society.

YouTube - watch this documentary about black boys in school - PART I - PART 2 - PART 3 

 


Education & “Uptown-ness” in Jamaica
By Krista Jennings

Education holds significant value in today’s world. It represents and embodies how people perceive, understand and interact with one another. In the Caribbean, particularly in Jamaica, education dictates who you are and the level of respect you receive. For example: an executive director of an engineering firm enters a National Commercial Bank (NCB) branch in the corporate area in Kingston. There is an assumption that the executive represents the “uptown” dimension of Jamaica’s social circle. This ‘uptown’ circle , consist of individuals of the middle/upper class that are afforded the opportunity to attend preparatory schools, the traditional high schools such as Campion College, which are representations of accomplishment and elitism.

In Jamaica there is an unfortunate social line that defines a person, based on the type of school one attends. The education system, through the Grade Six Assessment Test (GSAT), assists in creating this obstacle. The GSAT is a placement test that assess, and to some degree aims at preparing students for high school. The extent to which the GSAT prepares students is something that extends further than this piece. But what I will say is it places students who excel in the traditional high schools and students who aren’t so successful in non-traditional schools. Non-traditional high schools are funded primarily by the government and are often faced with over-crowding; geographically many are located in inner city communities that pose a circle of other issues, such as crime. This placement creates a social ‘culture’, as young people feel rejected by the education system and often as if they are at the bottom of the barrel in Jamaica’s society.

GSAT Jamaica

In the Jamaica Observer, Sunday May 2, 2010, Tamara Scott-Williams states: “For the uninitiated, the 10-year-old GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test) is the one-and-only chance for your Grade Six student to get into a "quality" high school in which self-defense techniques are not required learning”. This creates a limitation on the future of young people in Jamaica and also creates a strenuous relationship with the growth and development of the island. A remedy to this is zoning - to place students in high schools based on their geographical locations. Even though this idea has been brought to the table there hasn’t been substantial efforts to put it into action. Another interesting point highlighted by Scott-Williams is that zoning was brought to the table in many discussions around the effectiveness of the placement of the GSAT. The adequacy of the GSAT lies primarily in the uneven divide for students who live in inner city communities. Also those who exceed the expectations of the test, would be subjected to attending a school in their community that often lacks the facilities and resources to assist students in achieving at their full potential.

All in all, Jamaican society creates the divisions that are remnants of slave society which creates massive limitations on the success of an education system that has tremendous value and potential.

YouTube - Watch children getting prepared to take GSAT exam in Jamaica, courtesy of AFIWI International