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Lancelot Grant: From rock botttom to higher heights

Published:Thursday | February 25, 2016 | 2:00 AMShanna Monteith
Lancelot Grant, principal of White Horses Primary School, St Thomas.
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WHITEHORSES, St Thomas:

Education is the key to success, ambition is its ignition and circumstances and enthusiasm coupled with support and faith make the mixture for the fuel.

Lancelot Grant firmly stands as an example to those who believe that they are hopeless because they were not born sucking on a golden spoon.

Grant lost his father when he was eight years old, leaving his sister and his then unemployed mother without a breadwinner or bread for that matter.

Though Grant garnered a sense of protectiveness and responsibility being 'the man of the house' and though he was doing well academically, being less fortunate than his classmates greatly affected his confidence in school.

But that didn't last for long.

"I did not grow up being the most confident person in the world. I was a back seat student at primary school, but one of the first things that gave me a little confidence was when I was the only boy at Trinityville Primary School who passed the Common Entrance Exam in grade five that year. When that happened, I was like a celebrity in the school. All those that never knew my name were congratulating me. I started believing in myself," he told Rural Xpress.

She added: "The second experience that added to that confidence was when I went to Morant Bay High School and ran in the deputy head boy election. We had to make our speeches at general devotions, and it was based on what we said persons cast their votes. Almost everybody decided that I was the person to vote for.

As the deputy head boy, I had to go and represent the school, speak at various functions and those things pulled me out of the shell I was in as this likkle poor bwoy from Ackee Parade who didn't say much because he wasn't of a family who had much," Grant said.

Beginnings

Ackee Parade is the small district located in Trinityville where Grant and his family lived.

Grant later started attending Mico Teachers' College where he worked while he studied.

"I decided that my first pay cheque would be used to bring water into the house and to do other little things like to make a little bathroom around the back with a bag of cement, a tarpaulin and four posts to hold it up... things like that.

The job was paying well enough to help finance my education, buy the necessary books and contribute here and there to the household," he said.

Things were going upwards for him. He landed a job at the St Thomas Technical High School where he managed most of their programmes including those having to do with the literacy and numeracy ability of the students.

"I represented St Thomas Technical in a national competition and was judged to be the most outstanding teacher then I represented Jamaica at a conference in Orlando.

That was a major part of my development as a person because it gave me added confidence.

The now principal of the White Horses Primary and Infant School encourages those who may be experiencing a similar lifestyle to the one he was raised in that the change begins with you.

"Life is a journey. You have to make the effort to get yourself from one stage to the next. You can't live believing that your 'now' is going to be as it is all the time. You have to understand that you can change the cycle that you were born in. There has to be some sort of discomfort to get you where you want,? he said, adding that paying attention in school is very important.

The 37-year-old credits God, his mother and sister and the Jamaican education system for his success.

rural@gleanerjm.com