Vascular surgeon and globetrotting activist Dr. Julius Garvey and South African business leader Dr. Makaziwe Mandela will join leading alumni and other key leaders to announce a global initiative to raise funds to support Kingsway High school in Kingston, Jamaica.
Garvey is the son of the iconic Marcus Mosiah Garvey and Mandela is the oldest daughter of the revered Nelson Mandela, former president of the Republic of South Africa. Born in Jamaica, Garvey attended Wolmer’s High School in Kingston and is passionate about the education of Jamaica’s children. “The work of my father continues as we strengthen our resolve to educate our children, and now, more than ever, this is a sacred trust,” Dr. Garvey explained.
Hundreds of Jamaicans from across the globe are coming together for a common cause to support students and young people attending Kingsway High and Prep School. The 78-year-old historic institution has been empowering students and transforming lives since its founding in 1943, and over the years has graduated men and women who have been influencers and trailblazers in every facet of human life.
Both Dr. Ouida Westney and her late husband, Dr. Lennox Westney, were members of the first graduating class of 1946. This class set the tone for the kind of academic success that the school would come to represent. Not only did all of the students who were selected pass the senior Cambridge University exam, but all of the non-selected students passed as well at Level 1 – the highest level.
Ouida and Lennox practically met at Kingsway (then called New Hope College) and both went on to great success in their respective fields. Dr. Lennox Westney was a highly respected obstetrician/gynecologist and Dr. Ouida Westney had a dual career – first as a registered nurse and then as an educator. Now 91 years old, Dr. Ouida holds a Ph.D. in Humanity Development and is retired from Howard University, where she served as a Dean of Academic Affairs and an Associate Professor. She is responsible for many literary works and has co-authored a book on human development and marriage preparation.
“My time at Kingsway was very profitable. I truly received the fundaments and the basic education I needed, and I must say that my class of students was most excited about learning.”
From its first graduating class to its current batch of students, Kingsway is a pillar of academic excellence, propelled by faith and anchored in a firm commitment to shape young people for service and community. Two years ago, the school set a new record when 7-year-old Josiah Dicarlo successfully sat the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) Exam, the qualifying exam that high school seniors sit for entrance into college. “This is where dreams become reality, where imagination comes to pass,” young Dicarlo expressed in his own words.
Kingsway is a private institution greatly impacted by the coronavirus and most parents are having great difficulties paying their children’s tuition. The school is also in dire need of technology upgrades to facilitate remote learning. It is for this reason that hundreds of alumni, teachers, and friends of Kingsway and Kingsway’s alumni are organizing a special fundraising mediathon – scheduled for Sunday, November 22 from 2pm to 9pm – to support the school, students, and the children of Jamaica.
“Kingsway boldly stands at the very foundation of my career evolution in media, ministry, and community engagement,” Rev. Dennis Dillon contends. Dillon, who graduated in 1978, is noted by The New York Daily News among the most influential Black leaders in New York City. A community empowerment strategist, he is publisher of The New York Christian Times and pastor of Rise Church New York.
As a Christian institution, Kingsway High school has produced many influential clergy leaders such as Pastor Daviceto Swaby, pastor of Apple Creek SDA Church in Ontario, Canada, and Dr. Ainsworth Morris, who serves as senior pastor of Kansas Avenue SDA Church in Riverside, California.
“Kingsway has been a potent source of knowledge and development for me and so many others, and for that and other reasons, I am supporting this important mediathon,” Morris explained.
Located in the Kencot section of Kingston, only minutes from New Kingston, Kingsway continues to proudly deliver on its founding commitment to both academically and spiritually equip young people. Houston dentist Dr. Leroy Edison Dewar contends that he went to Kingsway under protest. He wanted to go to Wolmer’s High School after passing the Common Entrance Exam. His parents were convinced that the “Kingsway was the best way”, and after five years and the positive influence of teachers, Dewar graduated with the Class of 1965 and pursued a career in dentistry.
“Join me in keeping Kingsway alive and vibrant in its mission to mold lives … we must support Kingsway and work to ensure that Christian education is alive for generations to come,” Dr. Dewar said.
“Kingsway is a small but powerful school that has helped to shape my career and I am one of countless others,” shared Atlanta-based pharmacist Dr. Joseph Redley, who graduated in 1978 and is the chair of Kingsway Alumni International.
According to Kingsway alumnus Keith Nugent, who is an auditor and director of financial and operational audit at Bank of Jamaica, Kingsway goes the distance in empowering youth and imparting knowledge, and frequently engages its students in acts of kindness. “This school is small and intimate but is transforming lives in a big way. This Mediathon is an opportunity for us as alumni who have benefited, as well as people of goodwill, to make a contribution to support our children,” expressed Nugent, who is also the co-chair for this Mediathon initiative.
“It’s a difficult time for everyone. Income has dropped, costs are fixed, and lots of parents are having real challenges. Our school is doing everything possible to support our students and to effectuate successful remote learning. This support is greatly needed, explained Alethia Williams, the school’s principal.
The November 22nd Mediathon event is a clarion call for partners and supporters from around the globe and will be a virtual global reunion of Kingsway’s alum, educators, clergy, and other collaborators. This event will feature a diversity of talents, children, and celebrity VIP guests, and will broadcast live via Zoom, Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms.
For additional information, visit SupportKingswayJamaica.com or call Dionne Gordon at 856-520-6416.