Report from the President - 2000-2001

Fellow Alumni:

Year 2000-2001 while successful, has been mediocre by recent standards set by our organization. One year ago we established some goals including increasing the capabilities of our association by looking at alternative sources of funding. We have had a few notable accomplishments but we have fallen short of the high expectations we set for ourselves one year ago.

The calendar for QCAA-NY Inc. began at our Annual General Meeting (AGM) one year ago. During the meeting we received the shocking news that we had lost Vernley Ivor Ward to the "institution of higher learning." Vernley was a founding member of our association who had dedicated years of his life to serving QCAA-NY Inc. The impact of Vernely's departure continues to be felt by all of us in the QCAA-NY Inc. In addition to Vernley, this fiscal year we lost Mrs. Aida Akai a Geography teacher for many years at QC and Andre Sobryan who was well respected in Guyanese artistic circles. May they all rest in peace.

Shortly after Vernley's death, QCAA-NY Inc. vowed to do something to keep his memory alive. To this end, the New York chapter embarked on two initiatives:

  1. In Spring, 2001 QCAA-NY Inc. established the Vernley Ward Award in Vernley's memory. The deserving student receives a bursary toward the fees of their first year of attendance at the University of Guyana (UG). The first recipient of this award is Ms. Zelda Luke whose entire tuition for year 2000-2001 at UG was paid by the QCAA-NY Inc.
  2. Formal ball 2001 was dedicated to Vernley and all of the proceeds of the event are being used towards the annual Vernley Ward Award.

Our association has also been active in donating to QC. This includes:

  1. the purchase and delivery of 100 folding chairs to QC in August. An official handing-over ceremony is scheduled to occur during the first few weeks of the Christmas term.
  2. investigating the need for more equipment for the Chemistry Lab (using funds donated by Dr. Kemaul Dookie).
  3. investigating globes for the QC library.

Donations to QC are possible primarily because of our vigorous fund-raising efforts. This year we have held our annual Christmas party, Formal Ball 2001, a family fun day and the ever-successful QC-BHS Bar-b-que. We have seen a decline in interest in the Christmas party and should evaluate its merits in upcoming years.

The formal Ball and the Bar-b-que deserve special attention. Our formal ball featured Dr. Mark "Ripper" Kirton who came all the way from Guyana to deliver the feature address, Wrickford Dalghetty - an exciting Guyanese folklorist and Ms. Prytha Singh - a well-known dancer in the New York area. From all accounts it was successful. As usual, we co-hosted another successful Bar-b-que with Bishops High School. Initial estimates show that we entertained in excess of 1200 people at the event and this translated into a financial success for both Queen's College and BHS. I thank everyone who contributed to making this event even bigger than last year's. Clearly, this event has become a staple of the Labor Day weekend for many people irrespective of their high school affiliations.

In retrospect, last year, we hosted our "bread and butter" events and exceeded our expectations in fund-raising from some of these events. However, we have not made a lot of progress in seeking donations from large corporations. This is an area that traditionally we have not pursued with enough enthusiasm and there is a lot of room for improvement.

Finally, I thank the entire executive for their tireless efforts at keeping the association flourishing. Without the dedication and love you have exhibited for your Alma Mater and your willingness to volunteer whenever possible, it would have been impossible for me to guide this association to the level of success we achieved the last two years. I am thankful that you have bestowed upon me some of the credit for these achievements. I have had two enjoyable years at the helm of this organization and now wish to channel some of my energy back to personal matters. I will continue to serve QCAA-NY Inc. with the same zeal that I exhibited since I became a member of this association almost a decade ago. I take this opportunity to wish the incoming executive tremendous success for the year that lies ahead.

I am confident that they can build on our earlier successes. I offer one piece of advice: the QCAA-NY Inc. must always be in the relentless pursuit of perfection. If we fall short of perfection and settle for excellent it would be good enough for most but it must never be good enough for us.

Dr. Neil A. Jackman
President, NY Chapter, 2000-2001