May 2012 Volume 9

Chairman's Message May 2012

Stephen Vasciannie
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This is a slightly edited version of the Introductory Remarks made by Professor Stephen Vasciannie, Chairman of the Kingston College Board, at the annual Bishop Gibson Lecture, held on April 18, 2012, in the Kingston College Chapel.

In academic affairs, Kingston College is performing at an average level.  This reminds me that Mr. Carlton Bruce, long time Vice Principal at Melbourne Park, would come to each class and indicate that mediocrity is not good enough for Kingston College.  So, in keeping with our traditions, I start my brief presentation today by echoing Mr. Bruce: Kingston College must not be satisfied with mediocrity in academic matters.  When our students take their CSec Examinations, they must aim for the highest – they must, as our good friends from Calabar would say, offer the utmost for the highest.  This applies too with greater force for CAPE students.

Cultivating Excellence
There are several ways of cultivating an attachment to excellence in academic matters.  One way, of course, is to instill in each student of Kingston College, from Day One to the last days of Grade 13, the drive for success, the inspiration that will encourage the additional hour of study each night.  A second way is to ensure that the school provides the best available teaching and instruction for the students.

And a third way, evident today, is by providing enlightenment by exposing students and the school community as a whole to ideas, concepts and guidance from the wider society.  Today, the local chapter of the Kingston College Old Boys Association is once again providing enlightenment of this type.  Today, the Old Boys have invited one of our own, Professor Basil Wilson, to give this year's annual Bishop Gibson Lecture.

Professor Wilson will be introduced formally in a moment by former Minister Errol "Jiggs" Ennis, but I am happy to note that Professor Wilson is one of us: he sat in these very benches as a KC Boy just a few years ago (I'm sure), and drew enlightenment and inspiration from teachers, Old Boys, and visitors in much the same way as you will draw enlightenment and inspiration from him today.  So, in my greetings today, I hail Professor Wilson, and offer him gratitude and respect from the Kingston College Board of Management and on behalf of the school community.

Balance
Finally, as we chart a course towards enhancing the academic level of Kingston College – as we lift ourselves from being an average school academically, to one of superlative performance – we need to remember the question of balance.  Our vision of academic success must not be attained at the price of weakening our undoubted prowess in sports. And here, I pause to note that our basketball and table tennis teams have brought us much glory in the current year.  The Manning Cup team has also prompted optimism for the near future, and the Champs team came "oh so close" to the Mortimer Geddes Trophy once again.  It is a sign of our commitment to excellence in sports as a school, that we not entirely happy with second place.

My exhortation then, is that we must maintain the sporting standards, aiming to recapture the glory days of the unbeatable football triple champions of 1964 and 1965, the wonder of Sunlight Cup victories and conquests for 14 years in Champs.  But even as we do so, we must drive forward academic prowess, as this constitutes the raison d'être of Kingston College.  Our emphasis must be on learning, even as we flourish on the playing fields of Melbourne, Clovelly and elsewhere, and even as we excel with the best school choir in the Caribbean.

Funding
Having said this, I acknowledge that success in any area – book learning, choir, cadet, quiz, sports – will require funds.  This year, from September 2011 to March 2012, Kingston College spent the following sums of money on various activities – these sums are not contributions from Old Boys, but rather what the School has spent on certain extra-curricular activities.  I mention them quickly and round them off:

Basketball

 $161,000

Cadet

 $7,000  

Chess

$5,000

Cricket

 $239,000

Drama

 $3,000

Football

 $587,000

Hockey

 $237,000

Key Club

 $1,000

Lawn Tennis

        $0

Quiz

$15,000

Rugby

 $32,000

Swimming

 $33,000

Table Tennis

$252,000

Track and Field

$1,500,000

Overall, we spent approximately J$3,500,000 on the items listed above.  This was from a budget of approximately J$18 million.  So we have spent approximately 20% of the school's budget on sports.  Electricity generally requires about J$700,000 per month for ten months of the year (about 40%).  The only other point I should make at this time is that apparently KC did not spend any significant sum on the provision of books for the library ($0); nor did we spend any significant sum on the Choir ($0).

I mention these figures to encourage transparency.  The next time you hear complaints about no money for sports at KC, kindly remember that about 20% of the School's budget is spent on sports, and that 0% last year was spent on books for the library.

Old Boys
The Kingston College Old Boys' Association is once again to be congratulated for bringing us another lecture, and for therefore lifting the intellectual environment of the School.  The Old Boys Association has contributed in many ways to the School in the past year, not least in sports, quiz, choir, cadet, and other activities.  This contribution is through funding (in millions) and in time, effort and expertise.  The Board and the entire school continue to be grateful to Dr. Fraser, Dr. Dallas and their team, and to the KCOBA Chapters overseas, for their major contribution to the life of our beloved alma mater.

Fortis Cadere Cedere Non Potest.

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