Brazilian travel agents competing at an annual golf tournament, at Sandals Ocho Rios, hinted last Friday that Jamaicans could be targeted for special travel offers to the Rio 2016 Olympics. The world’s greatest-ever sprinter, Jamaican Usain Bolt, will be chasing his ninth gold medal in three consecutive Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro next year. It will also be his final Olympic Games as he has stated his intention to retire after the 2017 IAAF World Championships. Also chasing Olympic history will be Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, looking invincible and on target for a third-straight 100m gold. Maria Terresinha De Souza said Jamaica’s expected prowess in Rio 2016 will definitely have her thinking about special packages for Jamaicans desirous of travelling to Brazil for the Games. “This is an opportunity to think about it and find something special for Jamaica,” she said. Meanwhile, Daise Tanara De Souza of Magic Tour Viagens E Turismo, said Brazilians and Jamaicans have a lot in common. “There is a good connection between Brazil and Jamaica. Brazilians are similar to Jamaicans in their way of life,” she said, adding that she will also be seeking innovative ways of putting together attractive travel packages for Jamaicans. There is no visa requirement, up to 90 days, for Jamaicans travelling to Brazil. The countries have enjoyed a strong sporting relationship, particularly in football. Pele remains king of the sport for an older generation of football-loving Jamaicans. It was almost ordained that it was a Brazilian, Rene Simoes, who historically guided Jamaica to the 1998 World Cup finals in France. Brazil played a pivotal role in Jamaica’s Road To France campaign. Simoes had taken the Reggae Boyz to Samba Land to teach them the finer points of the game on better playing surfaces and against legendary club teams from that country. The Rio 2016 opening ceremony will be at the world famous Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 5, 2016.
And although Whittier High’s library building was recently renovated, Gordon said he wanted the money to be used to improve the library so more students would use it on a regular basis. “We are honored and delighted to accept Mr. Gordon’s very generous gift,” said Sandra Thorstenson, superintendent of the Whittier Union High School District. “We know the funds will go a long way toward providing an exceptional learning environment where students will be inspired through the written word, just as Mr. Gordon was during his days at Whittier High.” Davies said Gordon mentioned his plan to donate the Google stock about a year ago. But he wanted to wait until the price was right to cash it in – and that happened about a month ago. “I do have to confess I didn’t think it would happen as quickly as it did,” Davies said. “And once I saw the minutes of the school board meeting that showed his donation had been accepted – that was pretty exciting, too.” Two committees will be convened to come up with ideas on how to improve the library, Davies said. One committee will be made up of staff members and will visit other school libraries to come up with recommendations. The other committee will consist solely of students to gather their input on how to enhance the library, Davies said. “To get this amount of money at one time for improving our library is maybe a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Davies said. “We don’t want to make expenditures that are not wise and that are not going to have a significant impact.” Gordon, who lives in Northern California, could not be reached for comment. He is an attorney who also became a community activist for Spanish-speaking men and women injured on the job. He has written three novels, including “The Chinese Jars” and “The King of the Bottom.” “Both he and Isabel are tremendously kind and generous, both in terms of their time and money,” Davies said. “They were here recently, to talk to the kids and sign books, and they were very down to earth.” firstname.lastname@example.org (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3051160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WHITTIER – Aside from helping countless numbers of high schoolers find research for class assignments, students at Whittier High School now have another reason to be grateful for Google. Nearly 200 shares of Google stock, worth about $100,000, has been donated to the 2,500-student Whittier High to upgrade its campus library – a gift from former graduate and author William C. Gordon. Gordon, 70, graduated from Whittier High in 1955, and was most recently honored along with his wife, famed author Isabel Allende, with honorary doctorates of humane letters from Whittier College. But when he was a youngster, Gordon told Whittier High Principal Loring Davies that he often sought refuge in local libraries.