By: Nicole Campbell, Founder of AIM Educational Services
College Signing Day was such an exciting event for Jamaica!!
It was extremely important for AIM Educational Services and the American International School of Kingston (AISK) to celebrate our students’ college admissions — a result of years of dedicated efforts by our students. More importantly, it was important for Jamaica to join the global movement, to play our part in encouraging, supporting, and lifting education.
Many Jamaicans joined in — from history makers and AIM Mom’s Jackie Sharp and Kelly Tomblin, the first female head of an international bank in Jamaica (President and CEO of Scotia Group Jamaica and Head of the Caribbean North and Central) and the first female CEO of our utility company (the Jamaica Public Service) respectively. The Jamaican Government got involved too! The Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness represented the University of the West Indies; the Minister of Education, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid represented Nova Southeastern University; to my personal favorite (and husband) international recording artist Agent Sasco — we repped our alma maters, while college-bound seniors proudly celebrated their college choices. We used #CollegeSigningDay, but added #876CollegeSigningDay (876 is Jamaica’s area code) to distinguish the Jamaican posts.
College Signing Day in Jamaica started off at 7 am with tweets coming in from community members who were cheering on the college-bound seniors in Jamaica. Rachel Christian, a health coach and Howard University Alumnus, tweeted “#BetterMakeRoom for all this #Bison #winning (LOL).” Rachel was quickly followed by Ayanna Samuels, an engineer and grad of MIT! Current Jamaican college students started posting from their campuses across Jamaica, the US, and the UK. Students and grads from the University of the West Indies, Shortwood Teacher’s College and the University of Technology in Jamaica also joined in celebrating College Signing Day. All day respected journalists, social media influencers, business leaders, teachers, parents, and students alike continued to celebrate the opportunity and impact of their education.
More excitement came when Domino’s offered to sponsor our College Signing Day Pizza Party! And one by one, students poured in decked out in their college gear. Once the pizza arrived, our college-bound seniors dug in, sharing stories of their college visits and how they came to make their final college decisions — between bites of course! We (college counselors) shared our favorite memories from our own college days, while students shared what they looked forward to the most about heading to college. Our kids talked about how much they looked forward to a change of scenery, meeting new people from different cultures, new experiences, and new learning opportunities.
Ruth-Ann, who is headed to Stanford University in the fall, talked about how much she was looking forward to learning from passionate professors who would expose her to complex ideas and an increased level of challenge. Orane, a swimmer headed to Howard University, looks forward to managing on his own. While Nathaniel, a tech entrepreneur headed to the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, looks forward to growing while being away; Brandon, a Yale-bound future politician, looks forward to bringing his best self to the fore. While Claire, a math lover, will be heading to Northwestern and can’t wait to study abroad (abroad), and our other Claire, a horse-loving comedian headed to Northeastern, looks forward to the parties! College Signing Day was especially fulfilling as one of our AIM Higher Foundation Scholars, Juzel, earned a full-ride scholarship to study at Howard University and will be the first in her family to go to college! All year-round, Juzel showed true grit in meeting the challenges of the application process, and never allowed a lack of resources to discourage her as she pursued her dream.
We salute all of our college-bound students. The world #BetterMakeRoom for them!
All week, we will showcase a few of the almost 1500 College Signing Day events that were hosted this year. Stay tuned for some inspiring College Signing Day stories! If you are interested in sharing your school or organization’s College Signing Day experience, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to feature your story in our College Signing Day blog series.