We are living through a pandemic that has changed the world and will continue to impact the way we think act and feel for many decades to come. While we crave for life to go back to normal as soon as possible, there is the stark reality that normalcy, as it existed prior to the pandemic, maybe an elusive wish. There is hope however that the crises will abate by the second half of 2021 given the planned mass distribution of vaccines (which cannot occur quickly enough) and that this will drive a resumption to at least some form of normal life.
Despite the pandemic and the many challenges that have been experienced by our members and the stakeholders that we support, we have been fortunate to be able to continue to accomplish and further our mission of positively impacting young lives at Cornwall College our beloved Alma Mater. Much has been done during the pandemic as our resilience ensured that we adapted to a life devoid of in-person association and the staging of fundraising events while continuing the work of the Association.
At a time of great hardship to students of Cornwall College and indeed the entire world, we were able to develop a formal scholarship process and award many scholarships to needy students including the provision of laptop computers to facilitate online learning. We implemented an associated mentoring program for each scholarship recipient using our members and other alumni as mentors. This has been massively fulfilling to both mentors and students and lays the foundation for a broader and more pervasive program in the coming years that can operate on a much wider scale.
Despite the inability to stage fundraising events, we were able to successfully raise money by staging an appeal for donations that generated approximately $20,000. This will be used to provide much-needed laptops for students who have experienced massive disruption to their education due to the inability to afford devices for online learning. We provided care packages consisting of food and other necessities, to students and their families who were ravaged by the effects of Covid19. Our members also answered the call to assist Jamaican students stranded as a result of the closure of housing at their respective colleges due to the fallout from the pandemic.
We also took the opportunity to more efficiently engage our members, donors and the public through the redevelopment of our website. The new website is intended to provide a more powerful, appealing and attractive presentation that will serve as the foundation for building the organization as we emerge from the pandemic. Lastly, we have launched the Science Lab restoration program at Cornwall in a partnership with the Kingston and Montego Bay chapters to effect much-needed repairs to the Chemistry lab where many scholars, famous and accomplished Corwallians embarked on their journey.
All of this would not be possible without the tireless, passionate and dedicated work of the members of our chapter. However, much work remains to be accomplished. We can do even greater things…but we need the assistance and participation of many more Cornwallians and others who are interested in supporting our cause. We work hard but also have some fun in the process. Our recent Christmas zoom party featuring costumes and trivia is just one of the ways we inject some fun. Indeed, throughout the pandemic, we have been having a zoom party every Saturday night and the fun still continues. We are inviting Cornwallians and others to join the Association. We urge you to give back to the school that made us all who we are today. I and the other members can testify that it is a very rewarding and fulfilling experience.
Robert Smart – President