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Devon Dick: Harsh Lessons from TVJ’s School Challenge Quiz

Published:Thursday | April 7, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Last week Thursday, I watched the final match of TVJ's 2016 School Challenge Competition between Titchfield High School, Portland and Campion College, St. Andrew.

The students of Titchfield should be commended for winning the competition and the quality, breadth of their knowledge and the quick recall of information. These qualities were not restricted to the finalists but to other scholars. This demonstrates that there is great potential among many students to excel academically.

However, there are some very worrying signs. There was a disturbing noise from one student in the final section that threw off the quiz master, not once but a few times. The competition has no rules for such an outburst but going forward the rule should lead to a deduction of two points, in addition to stopping the clock. The behaviour of that student was not in the spirit of the game and is a mentality of winning at all cost.

The winning at all cost mentality is destructive, lacking moral compass and can lead to behaviour that is corrosive. In fact, this has already overtaken the competition based on a statement by TVJ. TVJ claims that students, after losing in the competition, damaged furniture and threaten the lives of staff at TVJ. These harsh lessons from the TVJ's School Challenge Quiz will haunt us. These are some of our best brains and they behaved atrociously. These are our future leaders.



It is a sad day when we cannot humbly accept victory and graciously accept defeat. The competition should be a time to develop friendship and have sweet fellowship with another team. After the Family Feud episode on Game Show Network is finished, all participants hug each other. Even after an athletic race and football match people embrace each other and exchange T-shirts. The spirit of the TVJ Quiz has to go beyond the handshake and facilitate friendship. The behaviour of some students on screen went beyond youthful exuberance and was uncouth and uncalled for.

Jamaica has a serious crime problem and cannot tolerate actions such as the media entity staff being threatened by students. The related schools should be banned from the competition for at least three years and those whose students damaged furniture should replace the items and be banned from the competition for two years. The principals and JTA should express regret at this development and condemn these behaviours in the strongest way.

It was in 1980, I believe, when while at Boys Championship there was an altercation on the track between a Calabar athlete and a KC athlete. There was an elbow obstruction and then there was a deliberate tripping, in retaliation. I vowed I would not return to Champs. Fortunately, Calabar and KC were suspended for a couple years. In addition, there is a peace for Champs movement. ISSA acted too late in moving against indiscipline. TVJ should not make the same mistake but move swiftly to punish these schools harshly.

Students need to recognise that life is sacred and special. Human beings are made in the image of God and can exhibit compassion and kindness. In addition, humans can solve complex issues different from lower animals. This means human beings should be able to resolve issues sensibly. Instead people are behaving worse that lower animals by issuing threats to life and property. Threats to one's safety are unacceptable. When there is a dispute, the first call should not be to go to court or threaten violence. We need to talk with each other.

Boorish behaviour might be good reality TV. However, these are not the values and attitudes we want our young to display. Let the competition be academically stimulating, fair, fun-filled and let it encourage positive, wholesome values.

- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@