NCU administrator receives GG Achievement Award

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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Director of curriculum, examinations, and assessment at Northern Caribbean University (NCU), Dr Grace Kelly is a recipient of the 2019 Governor General's Achievement Award for Middlesex in the Over 35 Years category.

Dr Kelly, a former president of the Jamaica Association of Guidance Counsellors in Education, received the award during a ceremony held at the Wembley Centre of Excellence in Hayes, Clarendon, on June 27, 2019.

“I am awed that I was chosen, and I am challenged because this award is given based on one's ability to overcome challenges, despite my humble background and having had certain health challenges that could have kept me back in life. Wow!” Kelly said.

“The challenging part is how do I now continue what I have been doing in empowering others so that they can become self-fulfilled and also have a chance at life,” she added.

A former student janitor while doing undergraduate studies at NCU, Dr Kelly is recognised as an innovator and champion in counselling and restorative justice professions in Jamaica.

Her impressive career of service and achievement includes establishment of the Community Counselling and Restorative Justice Centre in Manchester, as well as provision of paraprofessional training for members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) at the divisional and area levels and outgoing recruits at the Twickenham Park Police Academy, now National Police College of Jamaica, during the late 1990s to 2016. The training was geared toward enabling JCF members to counsel colleagues in need. She also provided support for the development and execution of the Proactive Violence Interruption Strategy initiative.

Dr Kelly's areas of service expanded to include two-time president of the Jamaica Association of Guidance Counsellors in Education, former chairman of the Jamaica National Board of Certified Counsellor's Licensure and Certification Committee, senior associate volunteer chaplain of the JCF, and member of the National Curriculum Committee and Behaviour Modification Task Force of the Ministry of Education. Currently, she serves on the Manchester Peace Coalition and on the board of the Windsor Lodge Children's Home.

Although described by others as a “self-made woman”, Dr Kelly gives all credit to God alone. She further expressed thanks to every person and representatives of organisations who afforded her the opportunity to serve them.

“What I have accomplished… even being here at the university for over 25 years, while my education pursuit might have validated me, they are not the reason for my accomplishment,” she related.

“I find that it is the skills and competencies I developed as a child, the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and the lessons learnt as I was brought through my own failures that made me understand the depth of real human sufferings…I know God has called me into ministry at this level,” she said.

Surprised at being recognised by the governor general, Dr Kelly said her passion to service is just a part of who she is. She is driven by the need to overcome and to impact the lives of others positively.

“This award means a whole lot. I give it to all of them who have allowed me in their space, to provide the service for which I was recognised. I give them the honour,” she said.

She identifies NCU's Restoring Every Student's Confidence Using Education (RESCUE) 2020 initiative that provides options for at-risk youth, as an example of an effective strategy in helping a marginalised group, and by extension, the nation.

“I like the NCU concept of rescuing. When you are educated, you do see life through a different glass,” Dr Kelly reasoned. “Education does not have to be formal. Just by knowing who you are and being educated about what you can do at your level…that will be sufficient to prod someone along.”


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