Thursday April 16, 1925 through April 16 2011 KC celebrated 86 years of playing its role in the development of lives that have contributed to the growth of our nation, region and the world at large.
It was on Tuesday, January 6, 1959 that my mother held me by the left hand through the gates of KC. I was wearing a pair of short pants, a purple and white necktie with a “V” at the knot and a small case, referred to as a grip,(dulcimina) complete with exercise books and text books printed with the School’s name and subject coded, plus text books all wrapped.
So often when we hear and speak of the Greatness of Kingston College, the grandeur and beauty tend to focus on the results achieved by present students and Old Boys. Nevertheless, as I invite you to join me in a toast, let me first of all thank our Great, big, wonderful God who, as the closing hymn at end of term says “has done wondrous things”.
Secondly, to our founding fathers we pay homage for having applied the courage to persist against the odds and ensured that the dream became reality such that they paved the way for the sons from every social strata of our society to receive the undiluted welcome, regardless of socio-economic, religious or ethnic orientation . Indeed the Crest and our Motto are symbols of great pride and joy. We are joyful that they chose to “go not where the path may have lead, but to have gone where there was no path and left a trail’. What a great trail they blazed.
Thirdly, to our teachers, certainly a moot ‘be it resolved that the ‘set’, teachers is the most important variable in any school would generate much controversy.
Nevertheless, bear with me because I not only remember, but recall vividly the teachers that helped to nurture, mold and helped me throughout my time at this great institution. Today I can truthfully say that I have never been punished unjustly by any teacher and hasten to add that when I try and match the number of times I was given a chance, not to mention the times that I did not get caught, I begin to wonder if I spent more time playing pranks or dealing with school work. Teachers then, taught, cared, corrected, punished and performed. There might have been an isolated occasion when a teacher did not attend class, but I just cannot recall.
Fourthly, there was a woman, Miriam Sterling who never had a child of her own, my grandaunt, she mothered and fathered me. She thoroughly believed in not sparing the rod (strap) and spoiling the child. The challenge was to keep away from bad company, take up your book, go to Sunday school, be courteous to others regardless of their status or position, remove your cap, when speaking to a lady and learn to use Standard English to express your thoughts; these are some of the treasures implanted by her.
My colleagues and fellow old boys, do you remember those encouraging admonitions that came, quite often, fret a ‘hiding? I do not remember if my grandaunt ever went to a meeting at school, because I made every effort to ensure that she did not get the invitations, and even when her presence was required, I would get a ‘pal’ to represent her, then tell him what he should and should not say to our beloved “Dougs’. Can you imagine what would happen to me if she attended ‘school’ and spoke with my teachers? Mr. Crick, being close to her was worse than a tsunami as far as I was concerned. On my very First day, with cane in hand he told me that he was there to protect my aunt’s interest. Therefore ‘a caning a day keeps the devil away.” Thumbs up to her; her idea of nurturing had a different perspective than many biological mothers.
Finally, To my squadies (those who entered in 1959), those who were still in school when I arrived, those who entered after 1959 and were there with me when the school year changed in September 1964, the Older Old Boys before my time, the younger old boys who entered September 1965 and onward, the parents and guardians, particularly those parents who still have that driving Fortis spirit, long after their own boys have left KC, the entire Kingston College, as we pause for a moment, to those who have played their part and are no longer with us, I ask you, wherever you are, on the 16th day of April, in the year of our Lord, 2011 to Join me in a toast, to my Alma Mata, an institution that I will always love and cherish, an institution that has given me the opportunity to exhale, let us sip to that great spirit within us that says, Never give up.
Thank you, Kingston College.
Fortis Cadere Cedere Non Potest: The brave may fall but never yield.