Diaspora group remembers native Jericho
JERICHO, Hanover — A group of Jericho, Hanover, natives now living in the Diaspora handed over $750,000 in scholarships and grants to the Jericho Primary and Infant School community as the relationship between the two continues to blossom.
The alliance between the school and the Diaspora group took off in 2018 with the establishment of Reneth Brown Morris Trust Fund. Each year since then students have been provided with scholarships during the school’s graduation exercise.
This year 10 graduating PEP students each received a cheque valued at $47,000, while six infant school students, who will be elevated to the primary level come September, received $10,000 each. Not to be left out, each teacher and ancillary staff member received an envelope with undisclosed sums.
The scholarships were largely conceptualised by Eric Allen who emigrated some 54 years ago from his beloved Jericho community — nestled in the deep rural parts of Hanover — to America in search of a better life.
Allen, a retired real estate agent, has been ably supported by brothers Lincoln McKenzie and Dr Homer McKenzie, Dr Wills Dixon, Fred Bucknor, and others.
Allen revealed that plans have been set in place for children of the group members to perpetuate the support for the school for generations to come.
“What we are doing now is to get our children involved so that it [support] will continue beyond our years. In other words, if we should die they would continue it,” Allen said.
In fact, he also revealed that he and Dr Lincoln McKenzie had “set up our own personal trust, like a will, and we include the school in it”.
“In other words if we should pass, our children know it — we want the school to be taken care of whenever we pass. And then we tell the children it is up to them to make it happen [so] we are making it happen now,” Allen said.
He noted that funding for next year’s scholarships has already been raised by the Diaspora group.
“Students in the new senior class are aware that their scholarship money is already secured. All they have to do now is to perform and it’s guaranteed that they are going to get a scholarship,” Allen said.
He recollected that in 2017 he was invited to be guest speaker at his boyhood school’s graduation ceremony by community stalwart Reneth Brown Morris, a retired principal of the nearby Cascade Primary School. The following year when Brown died Allen said while at the funeral the idea was initiated to do something to keep her memory alive.
Pamelia Dixon, principal of Jericho Primary and Infant School, is grateful for the generosity of Allen and company.
“I feel very elated because when you see true Jerichonians — Jerichonians from the heart who have left many years ago — still remember their roots and still want to give of their time, their resources, their finances to help with uplifting the little district, the little school where they once attended, it is a great, great feeling. I am feeling elated. These persons have kept their promises every year,” Dixon said.
Susan Barnett, mother of twins Tayshon and Jelani Humphrey, was equally grateful for the scholarship for his sons who will be transitioning to high school.
“I am very much appreciative for the money from the group. I thank God for the Allens, the McKenzies, and the others, and pray God that their store baskets will never be empty,” Barnett said.