Sun | May 19, 2019

PJ Patterson returns to alma mater with pledges and encouragement

Published:Friday | November 30, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Former Prime Minister and Calabar Old Boy P.J. Patterson greets students at the KSADHF’s Student Motivation and Empowerment Programme before speaking to 40 sixth-form students at the institution on Red Hills Road on Wednesday.

Former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson revisited his alma mater, Calabar High School, on Wednesday, to stimulate the minds of young men at the institution, motivating them with stories of his own rise from humble beginnings to Jamaica House.

Patterson, who became head of government in 1992 and who demitted office in 2006, was speaking to a group of sixth-formers at the school during a Student Motivation and Empowerment Programme session organised by the Kingston and St Andrew Homecoming Foundation.

He encouraged the boys to always strive to become excellent leaders in their desired professions and explained to them that it was the discipline, confidence, and the solid foundation he gained while at Calabar that helped to propel him to the level of prime minister.

The former head of government also made a promise to have resources mobilised to provide Internet service at the institution. He also mentioned plans to get a new gate and entrance constructed at the school.

"Leadership doesn't require that you must fail to do things in order to gain popularity. Leadership means you have to take a position for that which is right, good, and wholesome. When this school was founded, it was founded to train boys by allowing as much liberty as possible and the introduction of self-government. In other words, Calabar gives you freedom and liberty but imposes on you a responsibility. I challenge every Calabar boy to set the highest personal goals and make the utmost effort in achieving them," he said.

George Watson, chief executive officer of the Kingston and St Andrew Development and Homecoming Foundation, told The Gleaner that the programme is necessary in order to place positive role models at the feet of the children.

"If you look at what is happening in schools at the moment, students are labelled as uncouth and a lot of undesirable things. But when you check, there is really no role model outside of singers. We want them to have outstanding citizens as role models who journey from poverty without going the wrong way. The young people must prepare themselves for leadership. If you look at the leadership body of Jamaica, most of them are over 60. The transition must be made, so we have to have our present leadership interact with students, explaining the process."

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com