Head boy appeals to alumni to invest in youth
While it was an occasion to honour the late Coleridge Barnett, the Wolmer's Boys' School's longest- serving principal, it was head boy Shaquille Johnson's story of resilience and overcoming dreaded circumstances that resonated with the audience at the Wolmer's Old Boys' Association Awards Banquet on Saturday evening.
Johnson made an appeal to past students and other stakeholders to continue to invest in the lives of young people in order to aid in the development of the nation.
"A system should not be characterised by perfection but instead should be measured by its ability to manage its imperfection. I consider myself a product of the Wolmer's experience, having been born to teenage parents and subsequently put in temporary state care. The typical outcome of such a story would not permit the association of any success," he said.
"At the age of 23, my father took custody of me. He was determined to ensure that my future would not be defined by our circumstance. I wanted better for myself, I wanted to be the best version of myself, I wanted to be a Wolmerian," Johnson continued.
He said while it is unfortunate that there are not enough resources to assist everyone, persons must make an effort to start small and give of their best.
"There are hundreds of boys today who have been in similar or worse circumstances. There are boys who, as I speak, suffer from the peril of broken families and communities. It is, therefore, the responsibility as a family to continue to establish ways in which we can give them an opportunity to build themselves and to build this nation," the head boy told the gathering.
"Admittedly, we can't help everyone. There will be some of us who will have to learn the hard way, but let it not be said that we did not try to extend our best resources to them. Therefore, an occasion like this is important; it is a step in the right direction. It says to us that we don't have to chart this journey alone, it says that we have the support of those who have experienced the depths of it."
Similarly, Dr Christopher Parker, guest speaker, encouraged the old boys to ensure that as they assist students, they should not only focus on those who do well academically, but should include even one student who might have had a challenging start but remained adamant to do his best.