Over 200 Jamaican university students turned out last Thursday, January 26, 2023, for the inaugural Making the A Grade Health and Wellness Seminar, hosted by the GraceKennedy Foundation (GKF) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus.

Designed to help Jamaican university students prioritize their health and wellbeing whilst still achieving academic success, the seminar’s first staging hosted students representing the University of the West Indies (UWI), the University of Technology, Jamaica,(UTECH), Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) and Mico Teacher’s College.

Bradley Bond, student of the University of the West Indies (UWI), was one of the 200 participants in the augural GK Foundation Making The A Grade Health and Wellness Seminar on January 26, 2023.Dr Fred Kennedy, Chairman of the GraceKennedy Foundation explained that the seminar series aims to nurture well-rounded and balanced students, “This is our first health and wellness seminar. It was held in keeping with one of the strategic focuses of the Foundation. The goal here is one of education in healthy lifestyles and we want to provide students with the tools needed to improve and maintain physical and mental wellbeing.”

Participants in the seminar were treated to informative and interactive presentations from health and wellness experts on the importance of maintaining a proper diet and exercise and strengthening mental and emotional well-being whilst studying. Presenters included associate counselling psychologist, Dr Craig McNally, who highlighted stress management and mindfulness; UTECH lecturer, Dr Kai Barratt, who touched on effective study techniques; culinary expert, former GKF Scholar and GraceKennedy team member, Angella Wander, who spoke about the importance of a balanced and nutritious diet; and former GKF Scholar and current GraceKennedy team member Johmar Bennett, who shared his advice on how to prepare for the working world whilst in university. Chef Samantha George concluded the agenda with video demonstrations of how to prepare healthy meals on a budget.

Angella Wander, 1990 GK Scholar and Consumer Services Manager at Grace Foods and Services, engages with the audience during her presentation on nutrition at the Making The A Grade Health and Wellness Seminar on January 26, 2023.

For UWI student, Sashalee Ainsley, the event was both entertaining and informative, “It was the perfect time for a seminar of this nature – at the start of the new year when we all have our health, fitness and wellness goals. I’m sure the information was useful to several students. I was particularly appreciative of Chef Sam’s session, because usually the struggle on campus is really figuring out what to cook when funds are low.”

In addition to presentations from health and wellness experts, participants in the seminar were gifted items from Grace Foods, Consumer Brands and Hi-Lo Food Stores.

Dr Craig McNally, Associate Counselling Psychologist at the University of Technology, delivered an engaging presentation about managing stress to participants in at the Making The A Grade Health and Wellness Seminar on January 26, 2023.