Ardenne sixth-formers urged to strengthen character, build Ja
Federal Reserve Bank of New York auditor Clive Blackwood has urged sixth-formers at the Ardenne High School to strive to make the most of opportunities in Jamaica as they grow into adulthood and look to contribute to the country’s development rather than set their sights on going overseas.
Blackwood, an alumnus, was the lecturer at the St Andrew-based high school’s Distinguished Sixth-Form Lecture on Wednesday.
“Do your best while you’re here (in Jamaica) because not everybody will be able to leave; not everybody has to leave. I’m not encouraging people to stay if you don’t want to. I’m encouraging you to do your best wherever you are … because it determines how you will be if you leave,” he said.
The ninth annual lecture was held in conjunction with the school’s 95th anniversary celebrations and is geared at preparing students for the working world and exposing them to global issues.
A number of Ardenne High alumni, who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields, were also guests at the event.
Blackwood told students that much of his success is based on “who I am on the inside” as he emphasised the importance of hard work and integrity.
“Who you are will play a big part in who you are in the future. So you wanna make sure that you set up who you are now to contribute to wherever you go. It’s important for your own development; it’s important for your family and your country,” he said.
The accomplished auditor, who grew up in the Waltham Park Road area in Kingston, migrated to the United States 34 years ago.
But declaring that speaking to students at his alma mater was the “greatest honour of his life”, Blackwood said he was not opposed to contributing further to Jamaica.
“This is one of the reasons why I availed myself of this opportunity to come and do this. I feel like I need to contribute as much as I can, whether or not I’m here or somewhere else. I feel that I’m in a position now where I can contribute,” he told The Gleaner.
Education Minister Fayval Williams said events like the lecture are important in students’ development.
“I wish that all schools across Jamaica would have an event like this,” she said.
Proclaiming the function as successful, Principal Nadine Molloy said she expects Blackwood’s words to provide inspiration for students.
“It will be impactful in how they choose their careers and what they choose to do at the tertiary [level] and how they choose to engage with school in terms of the remaining months that they have left,” she said of the event.
Sixth-form student Shakeira Anderson said that the event was meaningful.
“The lecture was informative and it was fun. It was also encouraging and motivational,” she said, noting that Blackwood’s words could be applied to various aspects of her life in the years ahead.