Sandals Whitehouse honours inspiring women
WHITEHOUSE, Westmoreland - OVER 70 inspiring women and youngsters in rural communities across western and central Jamaica were recently treated to an award ceremony and lavish buffet luncheon at Sandals Whitehouse, Westmoreland, in recognition of International Women's Day 2014.
The event was the culmination of an essay competition spearheaded by the Sandals Whitehouse Public Relations Department, which offered youngsters between the ages of 8 and 18 years the unique opportunity to honour women in their lives by sharing stories under the topic 'The woman in my life who inspired me".
All 35 contestants walked away with school packages courtesy of Sandals Resorts. The first-place winner was 14-year-old Ronae Campbell who wrote about her sister Odette Daley-Jeffrey. Daley-Jeffrey was gifted with a 50-minute spa treatment at Sandals Whitehouse's award-winning Red Lane ®Spa, while Ronae won for herself a gift package courtesy of Lasco Jamaica Limited.
According to Ronae, her sister inspired her because of the challenging past she had and how she rose above the odds.
"My sister's primary and high school attendances were very poor, for she only attended school three or four days each week but never on Fridays," said Ronae, adding that back then her grandmother told her that on Fridays teachers taught no lessons.
Ronae further told her sister's story of having to journey to a traditional high school in St Elizabeth to beg for the opportunity to attend the institution; how financial obstacles hindered her from attending school regularly, leading to her not attaining any Caribbean Secondary Examination Council (CSEC) subjects; how she had to start working straight out of high school; the responsibility the then young girl had when she was forced to take care of her younger brothers; attend evening classes, and then university. Now, she said, Daley-Jeffrey holds an honorary degree in nursing and is currently a registered nurse. "My sister encourages me through her experiences and teaches me to never give up whenever life throws us curve balls, because with Christ everything is possible," shared Campbell.
Young Thaja Grant from King's Primary School in Westmoreland walked away with the second-place title, winning for herself and her mother, Bobbeth Clarke, a Lasco gift basket and a day pass for two to Beaches Negril Resort and Spa. Third place went to Derika Bailey who wrote an essay about her mother Ilene Cohall-Bailey. Cohall-Bailey won a gift basket from the resort's Red Lane ®Spa, and Derika walked away with a gift basket from Lasco Jamaica Ltd.
The women expressed their appreciation to Sandals Resorts for facilitating the competition and allowing them to know how much they were appreciated.
"I want to take this opportunity to thank Sandals Whitehouse for treating us women with so much love and respect today. I was so honoured to know that my grandson looked up to me with such admiration. I will never forget this day and how special I felt," said an emotional Avis Johnson. Johnson's grandson Orlando Hamilton also won for himself a gift package from Lasco for most descriptive and best structured essay.
Public Relations Manager at Sandals Whitehouse Jervene Simpson was impressed with the essays submitted.
"It was such a heartwarming experience for my colleagues and I who read and graded the essays. They were honestly and inspiringly written, and you could see how much they wanted to express their love and respect for the women they considered their mentors, their heroines, the ones they wanted to be like or wanted their wives to be like in the future," she said.