Hello Alpha Family! This is the
July issue of the Florida Chapter CMAA Newsletter. We hope that it
finds you healthy, prospering and well-blessed. This is an exciting
time to be an Alpha alum in South Florida or worldwide. So much is
afoot. Stay in Touch; Get Involved, Give Back.
As of press time, here is a synopsis of what your alumnae
association has been up to:
The July, 2007 Reunion Weekend Media
Centre (No, that is not really the name!)
The equipment for the media centre that was shipped to Alpha has
been received and is awaiting installation. This is a seed of hope
that must be nurtured and augmented, but what a huge way to start!
At the behest of some members of the classes of the 70’s, the media
centre will be named “The Father Henry Williams Multi Media Centre”,
in honour of our namesake chaplain who served faithfully for many
years. Kudos to our alumni everywhere. Way to support your school!
It certainly feels splendid to give back to our alma mater.
“Take on” of the Library
One of our ongoing projects is the restocking of the Library. At
this time we are gearing up to start a book drive to collect books
on an ongoing basis. Already, several boxes of S.A.T. and A.C.T.
books have been obtained, along with English literature texts. If
you have novels, textbooks, study guides —any appropriate literary
materials-- to donate, or if you are going to Jamaica and are
willing to deliver some books, please contact us!
Breakfast Programmes/Student Assistance
We as an association will continue to maintain the Student
Breakfast Program. For over a decade, this programme has provided
hearty breakfasts for girls who needed this service. However, what
originally began as a Breakfast Programme for disadvantaged students
has expanded to provide books, uniforms, bus fare and lunch! As a
result, it is now called the Student Assistance Programme. This
programme is overseen by the Office of the Sisters of Mercy, under
the supervision of Mrs. Rheta Chen. The funds came from part of the
proceeds of the Spring Fling Dinner Dance.
Pat Lee (l) presents cheques totalling
$7,000 (US) to Mrs. Rheta Chen (r) this past May in Jamaica.
Update: We have since received a
letter of acknowledgement from Alpha’s current principal,
Mr. M. Singh, for the cheques to the Student Assistance Programme.
WAY TO GO, GIRLS!!
The Sister Mary Bernadette Little, R.S.M.
In honour of our venerable and beloved headmistress emeritus, CMAA
has instituted “The Sister Mary Bernadette Little, R.S.M. Academic
Scholarship”. The scholarship is valued at $3000(U.S.), ---$1,000
each year for a maximum of 3 years-- and will be awarded annually to
an upper-sixth form student to defray college costs at a tertiary
institution in Jamaica or abroad. Plans are afoot for a delegation
from CMAA to go to Jamaica in October to make the inaugural
presentation at Alpha’s annual Prize-Giving.
Big Sister/Little Sister Program
In an effort to provide mentoring and foster unity between the
current and previous generations of Alpha girls, we are working on a
Big Sister/Little Sister Program. The concept is for each alumna to
“adopt” a “Little Sister”, from a pool of the most disadvantaged
students. The logistics of long-distance mentoring notwithstanding,
this is an important link to nurture. The program is not intended to
replace parental duties or support, nor is a mentor expected to
provide any financial support. Rather, the idea is to nurture and
groom young ladies who may be in need of, and may truly benefit
from, such a relationship as that which a “Big Sister” could
provide. The program is still in the developmental phase. Please
consider getting involved. Feedback and ideas are also welcome.
Thanks largely to the gargantuan efforts of Addy Chin-Ogilvie and
Anne-Marie Miles, our long hoped for and much anticipated website is
up and running! It still has tweaks to be tweaked, but has photos,
news, and much information. Check it out at: alphafloridachapter.com
The next CMAA Event
our participation in the Jamaican Jerk Festival. Alpha Academy as
well as other alumni associations from across the island will have
booths on Alumni Row. We will be selling a variety of treats and wearables The Jerk festival will be held on November 9th at Markham
Park in Broward County. with a variety of items to buy and
activities to do. Come join us!
In order for our projected missions to be accomplished, we are in
great need of your support. Support may be in the form of word, deed
or sowing of a seed. There is so much yet that needs to be done. No
amount or effort is too little --- big or small. “Every mickle makes
a muckle”, so give what you can; do what you can…
For those living outside of Florida, please spread the word.
Stay in Touch. Get Involved. Give
SPRING FLING Dinner-Dance Report
L –R: Treasurer Espie Andrade (Dunn) touts the merits of
appropriate cups for various beverages; photographer Provost
caught on the other side of her camera; Committee members
Penny Lee (Fung) and Elaine Bloomfield (Diah) still smiling
after a hard night of final prep for the Spring Fling Dinner
The much-anticipated Spring Fling Dinner/Dance, this
past April 19th, 2008 was a BLAST!
The event, as anticipated, was sold-out-hot! It totally
exceeded our expectations in so many ways. Such energy! The Alpha
family fellowship, the great Jamaican food, the disco music and
dancing; the atmosphere of love, laughter; the pulsating music of
the live band rocking the Graham Centre ballroom ’till the wee
hours; Sister B. on the dance floor (---YES, you read right--)… man,
what an evening!
If you did not “mark your calendars, book the airline tickets, hire
the babysitter and book the limo” as instructed, well… you missed a
truly special night. We can only render this profound titbit of
advice… Nex’ time when we tell yu fi do sinting— d’weet!!!
...and we’ll be looking to see you at next year’s Spring Fling
The Graham Centre ballroom on the main campus of Florida
International University was the venue for our fund-raising
Dinner/Dance. Outside, it was a balmy Florida spring Saturday
evening replete with twinkling stars; inside, the pulsating rhythms
of the Mighty Vikings Band
Road March King Roger George, were stars of a different kind,
who rocked the ballroom ‘til the early morning. DJ Pablo of
Hardcore Disco also thrilled revellers with his selections.
Now, about the “Sister B. on the dance floor…” part: Yes indeed,
Sister Bernadette was seen participating in the festivities.
Apparently she was inveigled by one of her darling girls (who shall
remain nameless) to cut a rug. It must have been one of those Class
of ’67 Old Girls…
Indeed, her address contained a reference about Mother Claver
exhorting her nuns to embrace the joys and benefits of life and to
express praise for the Almighty through dancing. Therefore, it seems
that the least she could do was to set an example and demonstrate!
And, no she did not leave early, but instead locked down the dance
with the whippersnappers in the wee hours of the morning (See
photographic evidence in the picture gallery)!
Our Spring Fling Dinner-Dance Raffle was well-supported. The
1st PRIZE-- Carol Samuel of Miami, (a Saint Andrew High
alumna) --two round trip tickets to Jamaica (donated by JAMFLIPS,
Inc., Penny Lee and Leila Chen)
2nd PRIZE-- Curzon Thompson of Miami --a 26” HD LCD
Television (donated by Javier Daley & Patsy Lee)
3rd PRIZE-- Lyndsey Seow of Cutler Bay-- a Cruiser Mountain
Bike (donated by June Chin
Raffle prize winner Carol Samuel (1st
winner Lyndsey Seow (3rd prize)
A limited number of Souvenir Programmes for the
Spring Fling Dinner Dance are available and may be had
Mail cheques to our P.O. Box address: P. O.
Box 970943, Miami, FL 33197-0943.
Get yours today!
Below are excerpts from President Patsy Lee’s
address, given at the Spring Fling Dinner Dance.
Madam of Ceremonies, Hon. Consul General of Jamaica, Mr. C.P.
“Ricardo” Allicock & Mrs. Allicock, Sister Mary Bernadette Little,
retired principal of Alpha Academy, Mrs. Olga Azan, Chairman of the
Board of the Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha”, distinguished guests,
friends and supporters of Alpha, my dear Alumnae:
They say that “Brevity is the soul of wit” – so I’m going to try my
level best tonight to be wise and, therefore, to be brief. I know my
Jamaicans…less talk and more fun!
…True to our Mercy teaching, we have once again joined forces and
efforts to extend our assistance to the students of our beloved Alma
Mater, Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha”. Not too many mango seasons
ago, when we graduated from that distinguished and legendary
educational institution, and exited the portals of 26 South Camp Rd,
we did so in the shelter of each other, confident and equipped with
the knowledge to make the right strides into the unknown real world.
Today, as we network and interact among each other, we can readily
say with deep gratitude: “Thank you, Alpha, you did a stupendous
job!” Alpha girls globally, no matter what their positions in life,
have made their mark and made it decisively. Our successes, firstly,
as caring human beings and then professionals, and may I add
excellent mothers, is a testament to and a manifestation of the
And this is what we are all about – to keep this legacy alive and
flourishing by engaging in the life of the young minds at Alpha. And
our focus is not only on Alpha’s students, but it is this
Association’s intention to network closely with our fellow Alumni
Associations to see how together, we can best help, not only the
students of our respective Alma Maters, but we can join forces,
galvanize, and develop a huge extension of assistance to every
student of our beloved, beautiful little Rock, Jamaica. For now, we
have to be visionaries for these young minds. We have seen and
experienced the constant changes in the commerce world and
international marketplace, and we are aware of how equipped and
competitive we need to be to survive. God made us stewards of this
earth, and of each other. Let’s be good stewards of these children
and realize how important a role we need to play in helping them to
have hope, vision and confidence to blaze a trail to the future….An
investment in knowledge pays the best interest!
Last year the graduates of the 70’s had their reunion and turned it
into a fundraiser, to the point where they were able to use the
proceeds of that event to establish a Media Centre at Alpha. Two
weeks ago, most of the equipment was shipped and, hopefully, before
year’s end, this facility will be operable and our girls will be
better able to advance with modern technology.
… The teachers at Alpha are making sure that our girls are “on the
mark”, and it is evident in the high level of passes the 5th formers
achieved in the last C-SEC exams and the 6th formers at the CAPE
exams which is the equivalent to GCE Advanced Level. Our girls have
also been excelling at sports, and at the 2008 Girls Champs they
gained 2 gold, 3 sliver and 2 bronze medals and our 8th grader
student, Tatiana Wolf was adjudged Champion Class 4 Athlete of this
championship. In the World Youth Games 2007, Shermaine Williams, a
12th grader, came second in the 100 meter hurdles and was offered a
scholarship at Johnson Smith University here in the United States.
And, in the forthcoming PENN Relays between April 24 and 26, Alpha
will be well represented.
…How inspiring it was for me to read in the Daily Gleaner the week
before last Christmas where several adults were asked: “If you had
one wish this Christmas what would it be?”…. and within those
responses were 2 students of Alpha. The adults wished mostly for
material things, but our 2 Alpha students wishes were that they
would be given the opportunity to volunteer especially helping the
street people and to clothe them, and to volunteer at family homes
to help people living with HIV. When I read this, my heart melted
and I had to remark: “WELL DONE ALPHA” and then I recalled what
Mother Teresa once said: “In life we can always do great things, but
we can do small things with great love”.
Before I sign off, I wish to say a few words to my fellow Alumnae:
128 yrs ago, Jesse Ripoll and our dear Sisters of Mercy did not have
the luxury and benefits of modern technology, BUT they had a deep
faith and genuine desire to uplift the less fortunate. Their
achievements are legendary – AND WE ARE PRODUCTS OF THAT LEGEND. By
your presence tonight, you have shown your care. PLEASE join your
Association, BECOME ACTIVE and help to support your Alma Mater. Let
us come together like never before to ensure that the efforts of
Jesse Ripoll and the Sisters of Mercy will be timeless and enduring
– WE OWE IT TO THEM! They have made sure that the Alpha tradition is
second to none!! So my dear Alumnae: To the Good and the True – “Ad
Verum et Bonum”.
…I am very honoured to make this most pleasurable and gratifying
announcement. The decision has been made by the Executive Committee
of Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha” to establish a scholarship in
honour or our dear Sr. Mary Bernadette Little, who we think is the
epitome of grace and dignity and who, to this day, is one of our
role models. The Sister Mary Bernadette Little Scholarship will be
awarded to a needy student who demonstrates outstanding academic
performance and it will be tenable at the 6th form level.
SPRING FLING DINNER
DANCE PHOTO GALLERY
the Spring Fling Dinner-Dance!
The ‘box office’ in the foyer of the Graham Center Ballroom
(L to R): Sister
Bernadette poses with Marcia McPherson (Howell) class of
’76; The elegant and unique Ice Sculpture of the Alpha badge
gracing the buffet table ; President Patsy Lee(r) poses for
the on -site professional photographer with her longtime
friend Mrs. Michele Rhoden
(L to R): Sister
Bernadette gives a brief address before the start of the
festivities; new president Patsy Lee and Chairman of the
board Olga Azan present Sister Bernadette with a gift of a
Raymond Weil wristwatch on behalf of the alumni of the
(L to R):
Succulent watermelon badge sculpture; Revelers wait
patiently in the long buffet line; then afterwards—The
“Dance have to
cork; liquor sell off...”
Bernadette shows what one can do when there is joy in your
heart and the Lord in your life!
Anne Marie Miles
(class of ’76): “You know, Sister Bernadette, it’s all of
that trouble we gave
you back in our day that has kept you so young at heart and
spry on the dance floor!
Bernadette: (“I knew that I should have given this child
more demerits and detentions!” )
Figueroa, poised and sophisticated in her Spring Fling
finery; … Observes (Center) Road March King, Roger George
and the Soca Competition participants; --Then, (R)…cuts
loose and shows us how it’s done. Go ahead, Jen! Follow Me
Finally, in the
wee hours we get Sister Bernadette to open her gift ...
Looks like a WINNER!!
Dancing down the house, it’s Addy
Calendar of upcoming Alpha alumnae
The next CMAA event will be our and
participation in the Jamaican Jerk Festival. This will be held on
November 9th at Markham Park in Broward County. Alpha Academy as
well as other alumni associations from across the island will have
booths on Alumni Row with a variety of treats and items for sale, as
well as activities to do. Come join us!
The next meeting of the executive committee is to be announced
BE Well. BE Blessed.
Be Safe and Enjoy your summer!!
Stay in touch. Get involved.
Support your Alma Mater..
"Your hands have
made me and fashioned me;
give me understanding, that I may learn your commandments."