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Alpha raises over $1m for young men at institution

Friday, June 09, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – Approximately J$1 million was garnered for the aspiring young men of the Alpha Institute through a fundraising mission on Friday, June 2 at the Spanish Court Hotel.The Alpha 137 Anniversary Dance hosted some 250 supporters of the institution in its commemoration. An authentic Jamaican “dance” session was recreated to showcase the immense talent of the institution's alumni and the future promise of current students. The night was made extra special with the support of Toots Hibbert and Ken Boothe as well as Welton Irie and Rae Town Old Hits dancers, who kept the vibes up all night, a release from the institution said.

Known for churning out some of the world's most popular reggae singers and musicians, the Religious Sisters of Mercy-led institution is respected locally for its commitment to helping young men in need of academic, employment and skills training.

General manager of Alpha Boys School Radio, and the event organiser, Dr Joshua Chamberlain, along with Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Spain in Kingston, Carmen Rives, voiced pleasure with Alpha's success and the support received from donors and patrons.

“The Alpha 137 Anniversary Dance was an opportunity to celebrate Alpha's legacy of social, educational and vocational services. Alpha is extremely grateful for the support,” said Chamberlain.

Chamberlain is also calling for ongoing assistance for the institution, which operates on 20 per cent Government funding.

“Sean Paul, The Irie Foundation, Bob Marley Foundation, and others, have helped to energize Alpha with new opportunities, training spaces and technologies. Their assistance is crucial and now we are trying to take that excitement and energy in order to engage the support of Kingston and Jamaica more broadly who may not know about the new trades and technology training at the school. Donations are always welcome and information about donations and how friends and family can get involved is available online at alphaboysschool.org/get-involved,” he said.

Past Alpha student, drummer for the Alpha Alumni Ensemble that performed at the anniversary dance, Derrick Stewart, said he is grateful to the institution.

“I can't pay back Alpha. I have finished nine passports, toured all over Jamaica, toured all over the world because of Alpha. So I need to give back more. Alpha's history is so wide and vast in terms of the music,” said Stewart.

Alpha Boys School was founded in 1880 by Jessie Ripoll. According to the release, her dream was to minister to the hopes and aspirations of young Jamaicans at the bottom of the social ladder. In 1890, The Religious Sisters of Mercy commenced operations of the school and started a music program in 1892. In 2013, Alpha Boys School Radio – a 24/7 streaming radio station was launched. The station showcases decades of ska, jazz and reggae recordings of current and past students. In 2014, Alpha transitioned to a day school now known as The Alpha Institute.

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