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Talented Jamaica kids win national awards

Christel House Jamaica (CHJ) students have been awarded national honors in categories of music, speech, and drama. The CHJ Tablet Band’s musical performance of “One Love in the 21st Century” won the National Award for Excellence in Musicianship while 2nd grader Kumar W. (pictured with CHJ supporter Archana Gidda Bailey) was judged Best Storyteller. “Kumar was celebrated for his performance,” says Vivien Morris, CHJ Speech, Drama and Visual Arts teacher. He was also honored for Best Speech Overall for his Jamaican folktale, “Anancy and Hog,”and for Best Male Costume. “Amazingly this was his very first effort on a performing arts stage.” Morris adds Kumar has inspired his classmates. “I am really proud of him. This is only the beginning for a child like Kumar.”

The CHJ Tablet Band includes six student members, from kindergarten through 3rd grade – Aaron S., Christoya S., Rojay R., Kahelle T., Sasharie C., and Yacoyio C. CHJ Music Facilitator, Dalton Spence, says his students were inspired by Jamaican athletes winning gold medals at last summer’s Olympics. “I told them that there is greatness in you, too,” he shares. “You can accomplish great things and you can win medals, just like them – if you are willing to work hard.” The children were committed, rehearsing during holidays and Saturdays. “And now, 11 months later, they are national champions in music!” Spence notes that parental involvement was important to the children’s success. “I developed a strong partnership with the parents and let them realize that this requires a team effort between parents and teacher.” Spence is proud of what his students accomplished. “I know I have taught them a valuable life skill,” he says, “that will help them to be successful not only in music but other areas of their life.”

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