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Community leader takes CIBC/FirstCaribbean SVG award

Community leader takes CIBC/FirstCaribbean SVG award


Community leader, mentor, counselor and teacher, Cleopatra Jackson, a 63-year-old resident of New Grounds, is this year’s local CIBC/First Caribbean Unsung Hero.{{more}}

The announcement of Jackson’s achievement came on Saturday, October 29, during a dinner reception at Government House that was held under the patronage of Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne.

Jackson, the 9th of 15 siblings and a mother of one son, was nominated by her close friend Sonia Samson in July of this year.

Her selection as local winner came as a result of her passion about helping persons of all ages.

Cleopatra’s teaching career, which spanned 40 years, began at the tender age of 14 at the Lowmans Windward Primary School. She has been described as always passionate about her role as a teacher, freely offering after school classes and extra lessons to her students.

Her commitment to the youth in her community and surrounding areas was evident, as she daily travelled by foot from New Grounds to Lauders, approximately 3 miles, to offer free classes.

Jackson has impacted the lives of many people, having cared for children, adults, the needy, and the elderly. She has been a mother to many of her siblings’ children.

As a direct result of her dedication to duty as a teacher, and the extra hours spent with children, in 2004, for the very first time, the New Grounds Common Entrance class which she taught gained the highest pass rate nationwide, which was a tremendous accomplishment for the school.

It was further revealed that throughout her years, Jackson gave selflessly of her time in a number of areas and a variety of circumstances.

She is active in her church, a steward and Chairperson of the Women’s Ministries Community Group in her village. This ministry is closely involved in care and assistance to others, including the elderly.

Cleopatra is the only sibling living at home and cares for her mother, who is 96 years old.

Upon receiving her award, an overjoyed Jackson expressed appreciation to those responsible for making her achievement possible, including her family and friends who were in attendance.

“Words can’t express how I feel right now. I am so happy, the words seem to be sticking in my throat and can’t come out.

“However, I must first of all I must say thanks to God. It is because of him why I am standing here.”

Jackson also commended CIBC/First Caribbean Bank for recognizing and honouring persons who are at times overlooked for their contribution to society.

For being the local winner of the Unsung Hero award, Jackson was presented a cheque of US$6,000 (EC$16,200), a plaque and a fruit basket presented by the bank’s Country Manager, Elroy John.

“We salute all those persons who have identified so many worthy nominations. This year’s local finalist also has a most impressive record of service, of which we are truly proud. I am sure that you too will be equally impressed when you hear about her incredible work and contribution to the development of her community and by extension, the nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” John said.

Launched in 2003, the response of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the programme has been commendable. To date, SVG has had six finalists at the regional level, three regional heroes and two regional runners-up.

Should she be selected as the regional hero, Cleopatra will receive an additional US$7,500 towards her cause.

The regional panel of judges will meet next week to determine the regional hero and the two runners-up, and the announcement will be made throughout the region in November. (AA)