Community Gathering for Second Annual Javon J. Alfred Memorial Fun Day May 26

Last year’s Javon “JJ” Alfred Scholarship recipient St. Johnian Kershen Bissette, center, poses with Davidson and Deverell Alfred and members of St. John Rotary Club.

Plans are coming together for the second annual Javon J. Alfred Memorial Fun Day, scheduled for Saturday, May 26, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the V.I. National Park ball field, and this year’s event is shaping up to be a remarkable afternoon for the whole family.

In an accident which devastated the community, seven-year-old Javon “JJ” Alfred was tragically struck and killed by a delivery truck on December 22, 2004, while on his way home from a Julius E. Sprauve Christ-mas program.

The accident occurred in the Pond Road crosswalk and prompted an outpouring of grief from the community and the Alfred family.

The idea for a memorial fun day was conceived by JJ’s mother, Deverell Alfred, who wanted to remind families to set time aside to spend with each other.

Importance of Family
“People work so hard and sometimes have two or three jobs,” said Alfred. “When you are working so much it’s easy for time to go by and you don’t really spend time with your kids. It’s so important to spend time as a family and we want the community to share in that.”

“The day was good last year and this year it’s going to be even better,” Alfred added.

St. John Rotary Club members joined Alfred in remembering her late young son and saw the tragedy as an opportunity for the group to reach out to the island’s youth.

“Rotary had been looking for a way to help the kids achieve a better education and JJ’s tragic death presented the opportunity for us to help kids get somewhere that JJ unfortunately never had the chance to,” said St. John Rotary president John Fuller.

Four Year Scholarship
The club established a four year, $12,500 Javon J. Alfred Memorial Scholarship fund for college-bound St. John youth. In order to qualify for the scholarship, students must be island residents and be graduating from high school with plans to attend an institute of higher education.

Although there is not a minimum grade point average re-quirement, “grades are a significant factor in scoring the applications,” said Fuller.

Last year’s winner, which was announced at the first Memorial Fun Day, was Kershen Bissette who is studying business at Southern Connecticut University. Bissette continues to excel at school, making the club proud, Fuller explained.

“He hasn’t let us down,” he said. “For the scholarship to continue for the four years the winner has to maintain a ‘B’ average and Kershen is doing very well in school. His mother came in and showed us his grades and we’re very proud of him.”

Encouraged by Youth
Choosing this year’s scholarship winner, which will be announced at the second annual memorial fun day, wasn’t easy, Fuller added.

“We got some great applicants this year,” he said. “It was a tough decision and we continue to be impressed with and encouraged by the quality of St. John youth.”

This year’s theme is “Jump Up for Javon,” and organizers have secured a children’s moonwalk inflatable play area.
“The theme is ‘Jump Up,’ and the kids love these inflatable trampolines,” said Fuller. “It’s really the perfect thing for the kids.”

Other games slated for the day include volleyball, races, marbles and ball tosses, explained Alfred.

“We are going to have games for both children and adults,” said Alfred. “All the kids will receive prizes and everyone will get a souvenir water bottle that says ‘Jump Up for Javon.’”

Best Local Cooks
Besides games and prizes, Alfred has recruited a slew of friends and family members to help prepare a feast.
“We’re going to have so much food,” Alfred said. “Everything from fry fish and ribs to cookies and cake. I got a lot of the best local cooks on island to help out.”

The JJ Memorial Fun Day is a great way for the community to be reminded of the importance of family, Alfred explained.
“It’s important for people to come to the Fun Day to take time out for their families,” she said. “Especially in a small community like ours, when tragic things happen, it’s important for us to get together and spend time with each other.”

The second annual Javon J. Alfred Memorial Fun Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 26, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the VINP ball field.