Jamaican-born UK Mayor urges Maverley students to strive for greatness
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaican-born Mayor of Barking and Dagenham in England, Councillor Donna Lumsden has called on students at her alma mater, Maverley Primary School, to strive for greatness.
The mayor, who stopped at her former school in St Andrew during her recent visit to the island, urged the students to believe in their ability to achieve success despite their circumstances.
Sharing her personal struggles and adversities, Mayor Lumsden told the students that she did not pass the Common Entrance Examination, which was the entry test for secondary school, and at age 14, she was left to care for her seven brothers and sisters when her mother died.
She was determined to succeed, gaining academic qualifications, and after migrating to the United Kingdom (UK), she successfully ran for the office of Councillor and then Mayor of Barking and Dagenham and will be making a bid to become a member of the UK House of Commons.
“Coming from Maverley school, we are someone, so no matter what you are going through, no matter the circumstance, no matter the challenges, we can do it. Just forget the past and move on, I went through it,” she urged the students.
“I determined what I wanted, and you can do it too. Maverley school is a stepping stone. You have fantastic teachers and a lovely principal, when you have problems, talk. Make your challenges your strong point,” she told them.
Principal of the school, Valentine Spencer, in welcoming the visit of the mayor, said it was good that a former student who has “blossomed” on the international scene was able to visit with and share with the students.
“It was good for the children, and it was good for us teachers. It was emotional to hear that she went through the very same things that many of the children are going through,” the principal said.
Mayor Lumsden has been a resident of Barking and Dagenham since 1999, where she has strong family and community connections in the Borough.
She has been serving as a Councillor since 2018, representing Beam Ward, and was re-elected in 2022.