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Joan McDonald gets gala honour

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Joan McDonald, the first beauty contestant to win the Miss Jamaica (World) pageant, was recently honoured in New York with a Congressional proclamation from US House of Representatives member Yvette D Clarke.

McDonald was lauded for her remarkable achievements and for her decades of work in philanthropy at Jamaica's 57th Independence Black Tie Gala, at the Hilton Westchester hotel, Rye, New York.

McDonald, who was crowned Miss Jamaica World in 1978, has distinguished herself as an event planner and a personal development coach, who has groomed delegates for the Miss Jamaica (World) and Miss Jamaica Festival Queen pageants. She has extensive public service experience having worked with Jamaica Red Cross, the Lions Club of Kingston and Citizens Action for Free and Fair Elections (CAFFE).

“This is quite a shock. I am really stumped,” said McDonald, moments after accepting the award.

“I am truly honoured to have been considered among this illustrious group who were honoured here tonight. I will use this as a torch to show the young people who I groom almost every week in Jamaica — young pregnant girls between the ages of 10 to 18 — that there is much that can happen for you when you remain posit.

Emmy and Golden Globe nominated American/Jamaican actress Kerry Washington was also honoured with a Congressional proclamation, while Byron LaBeach, an alternate member of Jamaica's 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games that won gold in the men's 4x400-m final and the Central American and Caribbean Games in Mexico City in 1954 was the recipient of a 'Brand Jamaica Living Legend Award' by event organisers and a Congressional proclamation by Yvette Clarke.