Style Observer

My Kingston — Troy Kemp

Sunday, June 17, 2018

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TROY KEMP Executive Director for the National Centre for the Development of Boys

What are your fondest memories of Kingston?

My fondest memories are from my trips to Kingston as a boarding school admission's officer. This is how I first met one of my best friends, Michael “Bedi” Walker. I visited Kingston annually for over seven years. During my visits, I had the opportunity to meet a number of amazing families and I travelled with an outstanding group of boarding school representatives.

What is the most enjoyable meal you have had in Kingston?

Wow, there are actually two meals I can never forget! The first is curry lobster with my good friend Bedi Walker. I also joined Omar and Lezanne Azan for an amazing meal at Di Dragon. We ate spicy crab!

What would be your recommendations to a first-time visitor to Kingston?

I recommend staying at the Spanish Court or Jamaica Pegasus, getting some curry lobster, singing karaoke at JoJo's Jerk Pit and More., and having some ice cream at Devon House.

What would you do if you were mayor of Kingston for a day?

If I were mayor of Kingston for a day, I would spend most of my day listening to people from all walks of life to find out what the greatest needs are. I would also conduct meetings with business leaders to discuss public-private partnerships that would address and support students and teachers in the public education system.

Who has impacted your life most and what did they teach you?

My high school guidance counsellor, Marilyn Fiedler, impacted my life the most. Although she was overloaded with students, Mrs Fiedler gave me incredible personal attention. She treated me like a son and taught me to aim higher when setting goals for myself. She convinced me to apply to some of the most selective colleges in the United States. She also advocated for me when she communicated with colleagues. She actually paid several of my college application fees because I could not afford them at the time. I have consulted Marilyn Fiedler before making every major decision in my life. She is one of the main reasons why I am a giver today.

Why did you choose to work with boys?

I naturally gravitated to working with boys because of my experiences as child. I saw talented male relatives and friends fall by the wayside because they were labelled as dysfunctional in their home and at school. Many were incarcerated and some are not alive today. By the grace of God, I had an opportunity to break the cycle by using education as my vehicle. My calling led me to be an educator. I interviewed at McCallie, an all-boys' boarding and day school in Tennessee, and fell in love with a culture and climate that was tailor-made for helping boys thrive. I saw classrooms full of boys raising their hands for every question. I also learned how to help ordinary boys become outstanding men. McCallie created the National Center for the Development of Boys to share research and best practice with communities in the US and abroad. I am thrilled to lead the charge because my calling is now my career.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

I would tell my younger self to wait a while longer before starting a family. Most men don't figure themselves out until they are close to 30. My first child, a boy, was born when I was 23. I was a boy trying to be a husband and raise a man. Fortunately, I surrounded myself with great men who showed me the way.

What's the last book you read?

The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday.

Whose music are you currently enjoying?

I am a huge fan of the show The Voice. I often listen to the iTunes recordings of duets by various artists. I also love gospel music and R&B. Tank is my favourite artist.

My bucket list will never be completed until...

I write a book.

Finally, what's your personal philosophy?

My personal philosophy is: stay hungry, be humble and grateful. I know tomorrow is not promised, so I try to exceed expectations every day.

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