St Bess queen advocates for children

With an inspiring new platform as Miss St Elizabeth Festival Queen, 22-year-old Ashley Witter is determined to a better world for the children in her parish.

A customer service representative by profession and a proud past student of The Hampton School, this brilliant beauty has her eyes set on pursuing a degree in Primary Education at The Bethlehem Teacher’s College.

Ashley grew up in the small community of Brighton, New Market.

According to Ashley, “My childhood can be described as exciting, adventurous, educational and inspirational. I was excited to learn from new educational articles, exhilarated to try adventurous things and inspired to be a role model to my community members.”

“I am elated to work with children and very much excited and honoured that they view me as a role model.”

— Ashley Witter, Miss St Elizabeth Festival Queen

She was educated at the same school where she now assists kids – Clapham Primary School – located in the very same community of Brighton.

When asked about her community Ashley said “My community can be described as one filled with talent and strong-willed individuals.

“I was inspired to enter the Miss St. Elizabeth Festival Queen competition because I wanted a platform to display my talent, community involvement and show how passionate I am about voluntarism.”

“My childhood can be described as exciting, adventurous, educational and inspirational.”

— Ashley Witter, Miss St Elizabeth Festival Queen

Ashley’s community project is entitled “Labour for Learning”, which entails the strategic methods that will be put in place to improve and utilize the infrastructure at her Alma mater, Clapham Primary School, which is the only primary-level education facility in the community. Ashley says she is making it her responsibility to improve the development of the students’ education and this noble institution.

Children involved in the summer programme at the Clapham Primary School in St Elizabeth, Jamaica

This young educator hopeful said she chose the community project because of her passion for  improving children’s educational development, “as they are the future of this my beautiful country of Jamaica.” She added, “With my community project in place, one-on-one sessions will be held with student’s who are performing below their grade level, therefore, greater involvement will transpire. With that said, the resources will be effectively utilized and students educational development will be exceeded.

“I am elated to work with children and very much excited and honoured that they view me as a role model. I am eager to teach a new topic each day and I am very proud to illustrate drastic improvements that are shown in the very first week of the session. The students did extremely well in their first pretest that was done on July 12, 2019.”

“I can recall in 2014 when I started experiencing fainting spells, I thought I died.”

— Ashley Witter, Miss St Elizabeth Festival Queen

Currently unemployed, Witter is looking forward to pursuing her teaching degree at the Bethlehem Teacher’s College.

She remains guided by a quote from Theodore Roosevelt, “Courage is not having the strength to go on, it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”

Witter recalls that this quote motivated her during some of the most difficult times in her life. “I can recall in 2014 when I started experiencing fainting spells, I thought I died. Yes, I had thoughts of giving up but then I remembered that I am given a chance to live because God has something exceptional in store for me and I must be able to use my testimony as an inspirational motivation for others.”

Witter remains resilient despite health challenges

From having fainting spells, to having 13 seizures per day, then being blind for 3 months has really taught me a lot. These series of illnesses taught me that it’s not over until God says it’s over, these illnesses gave me strength and showed me that my faith can move any obstacle that I am faced with.

I am currently a diabetic patient and still experience seizures but I will NEVER let my illness define my life or what I do. I never live for the past,  I live for today and tomorrow, hoping to get a chance to continuously inspire the lives of individuals that I interact with.

I can personally say if it has not been for Jehovah God on my side then I wouldn’t be getting this glorious opportunity to share my testimonial story with the others. I am very elated to do so.”

“From having fainting spells, to having 13 seizures per day, then being blind for 3 months has really taught me a lot. “

— Ashley Witter, Miss St Elizabeth Festival Queen

Witter noted that many youths in her farming community become lackadaisical after the completion of their secondary education. Oftentimes realizing that their parents or guardians don’t have the financial resources to assist in furthering their education.

Ashley Witter sharing lens time at the Black River Safari in St Elizabeth

She notes with pride that despite these obstacles, “They always utilize the fertile grounds that God has blessed this community with.”

As a Youth Ambassador herself, she shared her belief that “the Youth Ambassador Programme (JaYAP) should give aspiring youth ambassadors the opportunity to make the changes each community needs.

With that said, we can outline arising issues and implement strategic methods that will become solutions to these problems. Making Jamaica a better place to live, work, raise families and do business.”