A road map to success
Scores of parents, relatives and friends attended the ceremony for some 124 graduates of the New Forest Primary, Junior High and Infant School in Manchester last Thursday.
Principal Arnaldo Allen had much to celebrate, as, come September, New Forest will achieve high-school status and welcome its history-making intake of GSAT recipients.
The achievement was among the list of priorities set by the school board chairman, Trisha Williams-Singh, who took up office just over two years ago.
In his wide-ranging report, Allen said, "New Forest can handle high-school status as we have among our staff some 24 well-qualified teachers, who have both first and second degrees." And having recently spent 18 months as acting principal of Munro College in St Elizabeth, Allen said he had garnered a wealth of experience in leading a high school and that would prepare New Forest for its new status.
"The teachers and students have done well this year, but we are soaring to new heights; we will now be entering Boys and Girls' champs and, in five years, we will have our own sixth form," the proud principal said to loud cheers from his audience.
Guest speaker Shernett Robinson, attorney-at-law and special projects editor at The Gleaner, laid out some critical pointers in a road map to success for the graduates. These she listed as: organisation, planning, time management, prioritisation, concentration and motivation.
She told graduates to be organised because success was not achieved overnight. "It takes proper planning, strategising and major commitment as you face many challenges; and you might fail important assignments, not because you do not know how to complete them, but because you lack the skill of organisation," Robinson said, as she urged students to plan their agenda to success properly and resolve to focus on their dreams.
With increased levels of cyber-crimes everywhere and children being lured into danger by those who use the Internet to attack children, Robinson also used the opportunity to ask parents to monitor their children while they were on the computer. She told them to always be aware of the online company kept by their children and to ensure that these educational tools were being used wisely. "Declare the cell phone and television off limits and remove all form of distraction from your children during homework time," she said.
But she cautioned parents to speak to their children in positive tones that would motivate and not discourage them, and to encourage them to stand up if they fall.