Reminder of the legacy Grace Foods Services and Western Union have increased their sponsorship for the sixth staging of the Vere Technical High School – Ben Francis Invitational track and field meet set for February 20 at the Jamalco Sports Complex in Clarendon. “We (Grace) have increased the sponsorship by $500,000 in sponsorship and execution of this meet as title sponsors. Last year, we budgeted $700,000, and this year it will be $1.2 million,” Angella Grandison-Reid, Grace Foods Services Company promotions and consumer services manager announced at the press launch yesterday at the Spanish Court Hotel. She pointed out that Grace has always assisted in the development of track and field meets. “We have been at development meets since 1975. This year, we are sponsoring 13 development meets, up from eight last year,” Grandison-Reid disclosed. The Vere Technical past student indicated that her company will continue to assist the meet. “Dr Henritta Stewart (principal of Vere), you don’t have to call us at Grace to find out if we are coming, as it is automatic,” Grandison-Reid asserted. Meanwhile, the coaches of the top medal-winning schools will walk away with cash incentives. “The top-three coaches will get $30,000, $15,000 and $10,000,” Olive Forrester, head of the physical education department at Vere revealed. There will also be prize monies worth $40,000 for each winner of the Championship events, such as high jump Class One (girls); 400 metres Class One (boys); 4×100 metres Class One (boys) and 4×400 metres (girls). Principal Stewart says the meet is a reminder of the legacy of a former principal of the Clarendon-based institution. “We might not be the champions of Boys and Girls’ Championship in recent years, but we have won 22 times in the past, and continue to be in the top five in the girls’ category. We continue to make bold strides in sports and intellectually, as our young people are resources to be developed,” Dr Stewart said. Ben Francis thanked everyone involved in the staging of the meet that will be held for the first time outside the school compound. “On this occasion of the sixth staging of the Ben Francis meet, thanks to all who continue to make it possible. You have set the stage on which students continue to perform,” Francis said. Albert Lawrence, the first Vere Technical male Olympian and a member of Jamaica’s 4×100 metres silver-medal team in Los Angeles in 1984 is the patron of this year’s meet.