Written by Matt Maura
Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, told a group of 13 male students who were recently honoured for their outstanding scholastic achievement at the conclusion of the 2021 School Year, that they must not become complacent with their success. Ten of the 13 honourees were recent graduates from their respective schools. Minister Campbell was addressing a ‘Young Men in Leadership’ Recognition and Certificate Ceremony held for the 13 young men from the Private and Public School Systems who achieved Valedictorian, Salutatorian, Honour Roll and Most Improved status. Facilitated by the Male Programme Desk of the Department of Gender and Family Affairs, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, the event was hosted by Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Hon. D. Halson Moultrie and addressed by Minister Campbell and Minister of Education, the Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd.
The 13 honourees included (in alphabetical order): Akeem Adderley, Salutatorian, Government High School; Solomon Burrows, Most Improved, C.I Gibson; Dariq Chase, Salutatorian, Aquinas College; Shane Delancey, Honour Roll, Queen’s College; Jeremiah Hepburn, Honour Roll, C.I. Gibson; Dakarai Johnson, Salutatorian, Akhepran Academy; Tremis Moss, Valedictorian, Akhepran Academy; Akil Rose, Principal’s List, C.V. Bethel; Shakhori Rose, Honour Roll, C.V. Bethel; Collin Simmons, Salutatorian,
Anatol Rodgers; Denario Sweeting, Honour Roll, Doris Johnson; Antonio Thompson, Salutatorian, Aquinas College, and Ridney Theophile, Salutatorian, C.I. Gibson.
Minister Campbell applauded the young men for their outstanding academic achievements during the past school year, while warning them that their success has brought additional responsibilities and expectations. “You are now expected to set the example for your younger siblings; to set the examples for the younger boys in the neighbourhood; to defy the myth that if you speak properly, that you are soft; to defy the myth that if you study hard and achieve academic success, that you are a nerd; to defy the
myth that if you choose to get a proper haircut and comb your hair that there is something weird about you; to defy the myth that if you put a belt around your trousers and keep them up to your waist, that there is something wrong with you. Your success and appearance here today, your accomplishments, all say that you are all gentlemen desirous of projecting an image of achievement, of accomplishment and one that you are comfortable with.”
Taking his cue from a particular commercial that says in part: “Image is Everything,” Minister Campbell said he agreed with that statement. He encouraged the young men to adhere to the wisdom found in that phrase – particularly those who recently graduated.
“Book Sense without Common Sense is Nonsense (and) so do not get on your High Horse because you may have earned a 4.0-Point or a 3.5 Grade Point Average,” Minister Campbell told the grouping. ‘Having ‘Book Sense’ and being disrespectful and proud and haughty will not get you too far.
It’s about having a spirit of camaraderie and partnership; it’s about building positive relationships; it’s about ensuring people see you as a positive contributor to your families, your communities, and your country. “It is okay to want to be different because each of you are unique, but you want that difference to be a difference that opens doors to you and for you, not one that shuts them; a difference that causes you to get the opportunity when it is 50-50 and could go either way.”
Minister Campbell said this is where image becomes everything. “Your image precedes you. Your image determines how people perceive and receive you and while your bio helps to create your image, it is pointless to have a beautiful bio that your potential employer can read and impressed with and then you knock on the door, and he/she says enter, and they have to take a second look because what they see in front of them, is not representative of what is in the bio.
“I’m not asking you to think that you are better than anybody else, but just remember that nobody else is better than you either. You have got to believe that for yourselves. You have got to project an image that will make you stand head and shoulders above the crowd in a positive way,” Minister Campbell added.
Mr. Antonio Thompson, Salutatorian at Aquinas College who spoke on behalf of the 13 honourees, applauded the organizers of the event for “recognizing the need to reward” male students who have attained, and are attaining academic success at the Junior and Senior High School levels.
“We wish to express our profound gratitude to each of you for giving us the opportunity to be recognized in this Honourable Chamber today. We appreciate all of the modifications to ensure that we had the proper education to expand our knowledge. Thank you for paving the way forward gracefully as we walk in the purpose of our various destinies.
“We, the sons of the soil and the future generations, are grateful for the blessing, opportunities which have stimulated our growth for further wisdom. Through the course of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we admired the way you continued to stand strong, and because of that, we refused to allow the Pandemic to disrupt our future ahead and God’s Will for our lives. We extend a heartfelt thank you for the words of encouragement, advice and the resilience showed, which has motivated us to continue striving
towards the mark of excellence.
“In conclusion, we thank our parents, each of you and many others, for your leadership and we authentically appreciate all of you for your endless efforts in bringing out the leaders within us.”
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