OCHO RIOS, St Ann — Nigerian-born teacher of English and social studies at Ferncourt High, Ugochukwu Durueke, has devoted his adult life to shaping young lives, and for that, he has been bestowed with the parish's humanitarian award.
The St Ann Homecoming and Heritage Foundation has hailed his "remarkable, altruistic, humanitarian involvement with the education of the young, the advancement of inexperienced entrepreneurs, and the growth of the economy in the parish".
He was one of two individuals so recognised by the foundation at its eighth annual banquet at Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort and Spa, recently. The other was Ocho Rios businessman Cecil Simmonds, who was lauded for committed and outstanding contribution to the development of the parish. The Foundation also awarded the St Ann's Bay branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS), which it said offered unwavering support in education, particularly at the early childhood level.
"I feel excited and elated," Durueke told the Jamaica Observer North East. "It always pays when one's contributions are recognised; it is encouraging. It actually makes you feel like going the extra mile and that's the way I feel right now."
The Foundation said that in Durueke's 17 years as a highly respected and productive member of staff at Ferncourt, he has been an exemplary teacher and true humanitarian.
Addressing the annual banquet, dubbed 'Fifty and Fabulous', Governor General Sir Patrick Allen praised the awardees, as well as the Foundation for sterling contribution to their community.
"This recognition not only highlights the social and humanitarian work voluntarily done by the honourees, but it also serves to motivate others to do their part in supporting the development of our people and also the development of our country," Sir Patrick said.
Meanwhile, it was a beaming Branch Manager Michelle Senior who accepted the corporate award on behalf of her staff at BNS.
The function was also used to honour National Hero Marcus Garvey whose work inspired the establishment of the foundation and the opening of the Marcus Garvey Resource Centre in St Ann's Bay.