'Kill them with success' - Bucks Common teenager urges youths in inner-city communities to aim for the stars
'Worthless', 'dunce' and 'cruff' are just some of the negatives that have been hurled at 15-year-old Bucks Common resident Andre Clarke.
But rather than allowing it to rattle him and trigger a reaction, the vocal Central High third-former says his approach has been to just "live on" and view insults as inspiration.
According to Andre, other youth who find themselves under such abuse should take a similar approach and at no time allow self-doubt to set in.
"Every day them get up and tell you say you not going to make it, a criminal you a go turn and a thief. If you follow them, you will 'pree' (engage in) violence. You have to be tough mentally or you 'pree' evil," said Clarke during a Gleaner/RISE Life Management On the Corner with Unattached Youths forum in Bucks Common last week.
"As inner-city youth, we need people who can uplift we and show we the path to prosperity, not tear we down. Sometimes some people in and out of my community tell me some things, and when I think back on it, I can't help but shed tears. But you just have to stay focused on the goal and kill them with success, nothing else," added Andre.
The aspiring auto-mechanic also encouraged other young men in similar circumstances to not succumb to pressure.
"Some so-called friends tear you down more than the bad-mouth big people them. For instance, you at school and a man bring weed and cocaine come give you and if you refuse, them call you 'waste man', say you weak. So now you isolated and that get you spirits down. Don't fall into those traps," cautioned Andre, who will enter fourth form in September.
He has set his sights on ultimately achieving at least 10 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate exam passes, but to stand a good chance, he says he must perfect the School-Based Assessment (SBA) component.
To this end, he is appealing for assistance to get school books and a laptop to help with research and completing SBAs and other projects.
"My goal is to build a big house for my mother, show her that her son have ambition. But no man is an island. We all need help to reach our goal. Mi jus a tell di ghetto youth dem to keep di focus, and if you feel you can't hold it when the bad-mouting a reach yuh, nothing beat prayer," he contended.