Continuing its drive to develop rounded young men and maintain discipline at the storied institution, Jamaica College (JC) will again be trying to touch the hearts of students with a crusade.
Gospel Crusade 2013 will take place at the Old Hope Road, St Andrew, school on February 19, 21 and 22. Sessions go from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. The JC crusade was started in 2008 at a time when there were serious issues with the discipline of the boys. Principal Ruel Reid, who spearheaded the initiative, noted that values drive behaviour and the school administration had to get in the minds of people to help them differentiate right and wrong and how to behave.
"We felt there was a missing link," Reid said. "There needed to be another force that could help to influence and guide the youngsters."
Being a Christian-based school, the decision was made to go that route. Reid said the various stakeholders, including parents, were more than willing to endorse the move.
"What has been very heartening is the level of response of students and certainly the parents," he said. "We've never had an issue."
Reid estimated that two-thirds of the students in each year group publicly reaffirmed their faith.
Encourage and strengthen teens
"The teenage years are the most difficult years and they undergo a lot of pressure," he reasoned. "That is one of the reasons we converge year by year because you need to validate, encourage and strengthen." He opined that teenagers are more vulnerable to life's challenges, so "the more they are inoculated, as you might say, to deal with the challenges, the much better for them". Recent perception of JC has been positive and Reid attributes this to the success of the crusade. He noted that with all things, God is the reference point.
"We start every day with devotion. There is a Christian-centredness," he said. "Our principles are largely based on the Christian teachings. So we tend to lead the students in that direction."
The theme for this year is 'The War Is On: Which Side Are You On'? referring to the 'war' between Good and Evil.
Though the sessions are during class times, Reid said there was no issue.
"How we view this, is as part of educational development, catering for the mind, soul and spirit," he said. "We have what we call a holistic ministry."