Edward Waite champions student leadership
Westmoreland native Edward Waite, who has served Jamaica as a junior municipal corporation councillor and a youth parliamentarian, believes student leadership is key in moulding young people for similar roles as adults.
“Student leadership is of paramount importance to improve Jamaica and the wider world,” said the 22-year-old Waite, who is currently a final-year student at the Church Teachers’ College (CTC) in Manchester. “It provides an opportunity for students to be heard and to make a contribution to the plans, policies, and programmes that school administrators develop, and it increases student participation.
“If our students are involved at all levels in the education system, then we are building a Jamaica and a world that will have active citizenship. Student leadership provides the foundation for students to become the best version of themselves, and it allows them to explore the field of nation-building,” added Waite, who is also the CTC Students’ Council president.
The second of two children for Liddon Waite and Sandra Lawrence, he had his first major leadership roles at Frome Technical High School in Westmoreland, where he served as Debate Society president, deputy head boy, and then head boy for the academic year 2016-2017.
The youngster, who grew up in the Peggy Barry community in Grange Pen, Westmoreland, served as a junior councillor of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation’s Frome division. After that, he served as a youth parliamentarian, representing the Westmoreland Western constituency in 2018.
Frome teacher fostered growth
Waite credited his sixth-form coordinator at Frome Technical, Jacqueline Taylor-Brown, for helping to foster his passion for student leadership.
“While I was at Frome Technical High, Mrs Taylor-Brown invested much time and energy in my leadership development. She encouraged me to read and also to listen to the people I lead,” Waite explained. “This made me passionate and driven for servant leadership, and today, I still use that form of leadership style to serve.”
Quizzed about the need for student leadership in the midst of the current global COVID-19 pandemic, Waite told The Gleaner that this role requires courage and determination.
“Student leadership requires us to be disciplined and brave. In spite of the myriad of challenges that now exist in the world, plus those that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought on the education system, the situation calls for our student leaders to be resilient,” said Waite.
“I must admit that we will have to take a combination of approaches to tackle the unprecedented challenges that we face as student leaders, but I believe we can rise to the occasion and continue the excellent work that has been done by our fellow student leaders before us. Now, more than ever, we will have to develop that formidable spirit and share our perspective with all partners and stakeholders,” he added.