Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Lawrence Douglas Wright - 'A creative innovative leader'

Published:Sunday | November 27, 2016 | 11:00 AMPaul Messam
Lawrence Wright

The swift movement of his fingers and the sound of the organ is a reminder that he is here. "I love music," says Lawrence Douglas Wright.

There is music in his walk, in his talk, and in his gentle advice. Wright has been principal of the Harbour View Primary School since 2007.

Although many of his family members are teachers, interestingly, his first goal was to do some courses in auto mechanics. However, it was too late, and so he ended up at the doors of The Mico University College.

When he entered the Mico, music was in his ears, heart and hands.

"When I applied to do music, it was too late and so I had to settle to pursue a course in primary education," Wright said. And that he did.

After graduation, he got a job at Oberlin High School and taught music for two years. Then he went to Edna Manley College for the Arts and taught music there for three years. He was awarded a scholarship to go to South Carolina to do music and business, and also did some educational courses.

He then moved to Nassau, where he spent four years teaching music. After that, he joined St Joseph's Teachers' College, where he spent nine years teaching music.

He was also a student at Central Connecticut University, where he studied courses in leadership and management.

He returned to Jamaica and joined Harbour View Primary School.

"I am trying to make a difference while I can," says Wright. "I am always trying to equip and expose myself to best practices."

According to Wright, he has been exposed to all areas of the education system. He sums up his philosophy of life in five words: "Seek wisdom and pursue it."

The principal said he is a product of the Comprehensive Programme as "it prepares the child; it has a path for all school leavers, unlike some of the academic-based courses". He added that not all students are academically inclined, although they are hard workers, but if they are guided into a path that brings out their true talent and skills, they will become more fulfilled.

 

YOUTH PROGRAMMES

 

In order for his students to achieve their full potential, he has spearheaded a number of initiatives to boost their learning outcome. Chess was introduced as a subject, there is honour roll programme, the student participate in the Junior School's Challenge Quiz, and the school has received top award in the JCDC speech competition, and they also do very well in sports. The school has been working with partnering with Carib Cement on a mentorship programme for boys and girls in all grades. There is also a Police Youth Club and a Principal's Leadership Club.

But how does he enjoy working at his school over the years?

"I enjoy the successes, but feel challenged because of the shortage of resources and the challenges that accompany the low socio-economic status of the students and their parents," he said. "The enjoyment of seeing the child who cannot read begin to read, and tracking the progress of the children from grade 1 through to grade 6 is worthy of note."

"He is a creative innovative leader," said Damion Hurst, vice-principal of Harbour View Primary School. "Mr Wright is an outgoing person, a people person who is always willing to help people."

Rosemarie Anderson of the PTA describes Wright as a very loving and caring person. "It is easy to communicate with him as he is not a difficult person," she said.

"Mr Lawrence Wright could be described as a visionary leader who has the ability to use teamwork to bring such concepts into manifestation," says Cherise Madden, the school's guidance counsellor.

He is one person who possesses a great personality in that he is selfless, motivating, and very understanding.

According to the guidance counsellor, Wright encourages growth and high performance among his staff. And in his pursuit of instilling professionalism and strong values, he loves a hearty Jamaican meal.

He enjoys a meal of oxtail, and loves cassava fritters with turn cornmeal.

School's motto: "Learning is living"

Number of teachers: Approximately 37

Number of children: 1,200

- Paul Messam is a guidance counsellor at Mona High School in St Andrew.