Strength of a Woman- Kemesha Kelly- May 2014

Kemesha Kelly is a powerful combination of beauty and brains. Her young life is testament to the fact that you can achieve anything you set your mind to regardless of your circumstances. Although she has only been on this earth for 24 years, she has accomplished many things that some of us can only dream about. Presently, she is a Youth Empowerment Officer, based in St. Ann, for the National Centre for Youth Development.  Her passion is for Jamaican youth and she strives to live a life that empowers others to become their best selves.

Her Roots

From the tender age of 8, Kemesha was enthralled by Ben Carson’s story. In fact, her aunt ensured that she had all of his books. Dr. Carson’s story is akin to Kemesha’s. Both his mom and Kemesha’s mom did not go to high school. Both of their mothers also did not have very much. However, their mothers ensured that they were each propelled towards achieving greatnesses. Kemesha reminisces on the times when her mother would stay up with her till the wee hours of the morning ensuring that she studied and completed her assignments. She also reflects on the tremendous sacrifices that both of her parents made so that both she and her brother could succeed.

Kemesha was no ordinary child. Everywhere she went, she left her mark.  She attended St. Ann’s Bay Primary. While she was there, she was involved in quiz, volleyball, tennis, and public speaking competitions. At her church, she quickly became the Junior Sunday School secretary and was also a member of the choir and a Bible Quiz champion. During her first year at St. Hilda’s High, she was elected her class’ student council representative. This was the beginning of her blossoming as a leader.  In her final year at St. Hilda’s, she was elected the National Secondary Schools Student Council President and was also Deputy Head Girl. Her leadership pursuits and active involvement did not stop here, however. At St. Jago High School, where she attended sixth form, she was President of the Student Council body and a Prefect.

Her Struggle

In 2008, Kemesha was accepted to pursue her first degree in International Relations (with a minor in Social Policy and Administration) at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona. These were some of her most challenging years because the financial strain on her parents greatly increased even though she had received a UWI Open Scholarship. By her second year at UWI, she knew that she had to find a job to both help with the bills at home and support herself through school. Her active engagement in activities on Rex Nettleford Hall, coupled with the pressure of balancing school work and a full time job, ultimately resulted in her being unable to actively engage in wider campus life.  Nevertheless, her proudest moment came in November 2012 when she was able to walk onto the graduation platform and collect her degree with her proud parents watching in the audience.

Her Future

In 2012, Kemesha was also able to experience another proud moment- being crowned Miss Jamaica Festival Queen.  What touched her most about this experience is the fact that she has been told that her involvement in the competition has resulted in the standard being set very high. She knows that she inspires others and she takes her influence seriously.

As a Youth Empowerment Officer, Kemesha is able to actively live one of her dreams- giving service that will create a better Jamaica. Her responsibilities include: coordinating the work of youth led service organizations (such as the National Secondary Students’ Council), facilitating the parish youth council, conducting and designing research that can be used to implement development programs, collaborating with agencies and youth service organizations, and working with vulnerable youth through the Youth Information Centers.

She strongly agrees with the sentiments expressed by our Governor General, “Nothing is wrong with Jamaica that cannot be fixed with what is right with Jamaica.” As a result, she hopes to pursue a degree in Law and Policy Development so that she can become a Policy Consultant and therefore help to shape some of the policies used to govern Jamaica. She also hopes to become involved in promoting the innovative research that comes from Jamaica. Additionally, she wants to eventually become Jamaica’s Prime Minister and use this platform to be a true ambassador for Jamaica. She wants to inspire all Jamaicans to work together for the betterment of our country.

On the flip side, Kemesha knows that life must always have a balance. So, as she moves forward to accomplish her dreams, she also dreams of becoming a wife and mother of at least two children. She enjoys the company of her friends and family. Their support, coupled with her innate desire to succeed, have been what has given her the strength she needs to live an impactful life.

Kemesha is a strong woman who is on the rise to becoming one of the most influential people of this generation. She highlights seven characteristics of a strong woman that we all can adopt:

  • Commitment
  • Perseverance
  • Confidence
  • Balance
  • Integrity
  • Focus
  • Being Charitable

Use Kemesha’s story to inspire you to stop being ordinary. Instead, go out and make a difference in your community and your country.

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Kemesha Kelly- 2012 Jamaica Festival Queen
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