BY: LEANNE BENN
For any Guyanese, or person acquainted with Guyana, the name Queen’s College stretches back some 173 years; long before Guyana celebrated it’s independence from the British Crown in 1966. Queen’s College was founded in 1844 as an Anglican boys Grammar School structured to follow British educational formats. It has grown from a body of fifteen students to be one of the most prestigious co-ed secondary schools in Guyana with a range of 600-700 students.
Queen’s College has always maintained a standard of Excellence in the Country as it is the top school for the best performers at the Common Entrance Exam undertaken by primary school children who have been academically streamlined. Past students of Queen’s College are known to come together wherever they are in life to reminisce on the wonderful days enjoyed at such a prestigious school and it is no surprise that there are various Alumni Associations in different countries, including Canada. Kemahl Khan is one of the current Vice-Presidents and members of the editorial committee of the Toronto Chapter of the Queen’s College Guyana Alumni Association. (QCAAT) Founded in 1991.
This year, the Alumni Association marks twenty-six years of coming together and finding ways to highlight, encourage and support current staff and students of the school. The President of the Executive Toronto-based committee is Mr. Gerald Alleyne and he is supported by three Vice-Presidents and a board of directors. The founding members and new members are Queen’s College Alumni that get together on one Sunday every month to discuss fundraising ideas, schedules, reports, and achievements all related to QC. For instance, on May 6th there was a special gala to celebrate the association’s silver jubilee met in 2016. The gala featured a dinner and dance with live entertainment and open bar. One of the main highlights of this gala noted the special ongoing fundraising events that the Alumni team is a part of. The association has provided various funding as with other chapters for Queen’s College in Guyana. At present their main point of contact is current Headmistress Ms. Jackie Benn. The Association has provided funding of approximately $205,000 CDN over the years, to aid in the financing of musical equipment, books, library development, computers, wireless network access, building projects and other classroom improvements. There is no end to the effortless determination of the members of the Alumni Association as they are committed to maintaining the legacy of Queen’s College. In fact, as of April 2016, the Alumni Association amended their constitution to allow students of other Alma Mater to join. The QCAAT is now open to anyone that would like to support the school’s high level of excellence in Guyana. Members can also have a chance to receive bursaries of $1,000 CDN for alumni children, grandchildren, and other associate members.
The next fundraising event for the QCAAT is the annual Father’s Day brunch on June 11th that will feature a relaxing family day environment at the Tropicana Community Services Centre at 1385 Huntingwood Drive in Scarborough. The event will feature a West Indian menu and the chance for door prizes and a raffle. Tickets are $30 and $15 for children.
Other events that the QCAAT host or are a part of, include the 12th Night Dance held every second Saturday in January in collaboration with BHS Alumni Association (The Bishops’ High School), Last Lap Lime which is a popular summer activity and a sort of reunion lime including other secondary schools in Guyana such as BHS, St Stanislaus College, St Roses and St Joseph’s High and finally another notable event is an annual bus trip to Casino Rama.
Activities at the QCAAT are not always fundraiser based, as they like to highlight the achievements of past students or even the children of past students and they are planning a book launch event in July to celebrate two books written by Queen’s College Associates. There are approximately 350 alumni listed in the Toronto Chapter database and the association is urging new and present members to stay committed to the cause, especially the need and input of the younger generation of QC alumni to aid in the visionary and conceptual development of the association. People interested in subscribing can check out www.qcalumnitoronto.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for subscription details and help to support the cause of one of Guyana’s most prestigious schools.