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JC principal urges old boys to become mentors

Monday, June 19, 2017

PRINCIPAL of Jamaica College (JC), Wayne Robinson, has made an impassioned plea for former students to assist the school through mentorship.

Speaking at the 26th annual Carlton Alexander Awards hosted by the Jamaica College Old Boys' Association Wednesday night at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston, Robinson said, while the monetary support is welcomed and appreciated, it is important that they spend time with the boys, as their societal perceptions are warped.

“We had a discussion with the third-form mentorship group and there are boys there who think that nothing is wrong with beating women. It's not a JC problem. It is general, because the society is different and has changed. Come and help us with mentorship, gentlemen, because that's what we need now,” he said.

Robinson added: “Come and spend some time at JC on Wednesday and Tuesday mornings when we have the mentorship programme. We have female mentors at JC. We have parents of boys and wives of old boys who have volunteered to come and help with the mentorship programme. Now, while that is good, gentlemen, I need the gentlemen to turn up.”

Robinson, who is also a JC old boy, pointed out that apart from excellent academic results, the boys need to be able to relate to what happens in the real world, develop the discipline required in adulthood, the understanding and relevance of societal issues and contextual learning that the shared, day to day experiences of old boys will give them.

“You can provide that by just coming and helping them to organise their time, telling them about how to deal with people of the world, helping them with their relationships with girls and women. Give them hands-on experience, make their learning contextual, make their learning tactile. That's where we want to be. Yes, we want excellent results, we want to be JC where we produce the kind of gentleman that is good at everything. We are college men, we are good at everything,” he said.

During his plea, Robinson, reflected on his time as a student and painted a contrast of how different things are now, emphasising the importance of mentorship.

“I remember being a student and peaking into the prefect room. I was summoned and asked to search and find what I was looking for. After searching and searching and coming up with nothing, I was placed on the field to pick up all the stones. I finished with three big piles of stones. You can't do that any more. The rules now say your hair can't be more than a centimetre or half inches long, and we're coming from an era where we wore afros to school. The world has changed. Entrepreneurship is an actual subject being taught at school. It is not a case where we would send boys to the tuck shop with 10 cents and ask them to buy a few items and come back with change. My tenure at JC is not a job for me, but a duty to ensure these boys get a solid foundation,” he said.

Robinson said, too, the last few months have been spent ensuring that the vision of JC, which is producing world-class citizens, is realised.

“The vision of JC has always been about the college man that we produce to put on the street, to put out to colleges, to put out to careers, to put out to citizenship. That's what we are about, and in inculcating those values and developing that youngster, that's what we spend time doing. Everything else is a support to that, everything else is a means to that end,” the principal said.

He also appealed to the other schools in attendance to band together and spend time developing boys in a way that is different from everyone else.

“Understand your role in national development. Yes, we rag each other and rib each other, but we're part of the foundation of the country and especially the development of gentlemen. We have a responsibility. We join you in our role as foundation men in national development,” he said.

— Kimberley Hibbert