The Kingston College Old Boys’ Association of Atlanta hosted a Fortisians breakfast December 12, 2015, to welcome to Atlanta, primarily, KC Principal Dave Myrie, and Mrs. Myrie. That event was the opening session in a weekend of meetings and functions planned to cement, to an even greater extent, KCOBA-ATL’s productive working partnership with KC.
“I have visited with our Old Boys’ organizations in Florida and other cities, and now my wife and I are pleased to be your guests in Atlanta, on behalf of Kingston College, our beloved institution,” Mr. Myrie said in his opening statement.
The visit was quite timely in many respects. For one, in recent years KCOBA-ATL has been enjoying increased prominence in terms of the level of support and commitment that it has afforded KC. In addition, Atlanta Old Boys have been visiting KC campuses at a rapidly increasing rate, and they have significantly heightened their interests in working even more directly and productively with KC.
As an example, the following is a list of support contributions KCOBA-ATL made to KC in US$ in Year 2015, not including the organization’s December 2015 contributions, of course:
- Student Scholarships (Current Students)
- Past Students Scholarships
- Table Tennis Team Support
- Track Team Support
- Lissant Road Property Acquisition
- KC Development Trust Fund Contribution
- IT and Library Fund, and
- Schools Challenge Quiz team Support.
The principal spoke about some of the unexpected results that seem to make all the hard work and support extra meaningful and personally rewarding to benefactors. He related, in one example, a situation where a student, who based on that student’s situation, was not expected to do well. However, through ongoing, committed support, the student earned 10 CXC passes, eight of which were Level 1 passes.
Quite an achievement, the Old Boys at the breakfast meeting noted with pride. And that student is one who actually saw the principal as a father figure, even after that student had graduated.
In essence, the support that the many KCOBA organizations provide positively impacts ALL school life. “Education is a basic human right,” Principal Myrie opined, “and the quality of education would be much lower without the help that the Old Boys provide.”
The principal delineated six key areas of special interest that he had for KC:
- Infrastructure and Development
- Management of the Education Process
- Student Behavior Management
- Academic Performance Learning
- A One-School Culture (the North Street and Melbourne unification process), and
- Improved Levels of Financial Contributions (to KC).
In terms of Infrastructure, the following “ports of call” were identified as key funding sources:
- The Board
- The Founding Church
- The Old Boys, and
- The Private Sector.
Regarding the Private Sector funding source, the principal was pleased to report that he had been personally and successfully involved in soliciting and raising funds from Grace Kennedy Company, to the tune of JA$60 million. In addition, private sector support of KC projects include JA$13 million for a well, and separate funds to upgrade four classrooms, among other developments.
The principal also announced that over the years South Florida KCOBA member Audley Hewett, who was in attendance at the breakfast meeting, had been most supportive financially and otherwise, “in some way, shape, or form,” in KC interests and needs overall. Among Hewett’s committed involvement included his efforts in helping with the purchase of a school bus for KC, to the installation of a new North Street gate, and much, much, more.
On that note, the full impact of Audley Hewett’s commitment has been of such that Mrs. Hewett reportedly deemed her husband to be a professional beggar, a skill that both Audley and his South Florida organization are deservedly proud to claim, considering the overwhelmingly positive results.
With numerous fund raising efforts across the board, however, and funds coming in from various sources, the principal said that it was critical that he put in place, as he did, a process to consolidate and formalize the solicitation of funds in KC’s name. “By so doing, we will maximize accountability,” the principal assured.
Under Academic Performance and Learning, the principal highlighted several significant performance improvements realized under his watch. As an example, the current pass rate in mathematics is now at 94%, compared with a lower performance rate from four years ago. Similarly, spectacular improvements were reported in the areas of English, and 89% of students now have passes in 5 subjects or more.
The principal also proudly reported that KC had started an online school. Interestingly, reports now show that online students often outperform students in seated classes. That is largely attributed to advances in content delivery, and the available functionality to grade end-of-lesson assessments and provide feedback, almost instantaneously in both cases.
So impressive are the current results at KC that visiting representatives, even those from top universities, often marvel at how KC is able to do so much with so little. In the end, the contributions that the Old Boys have made, and continue to make, have been credited with making the near-impossible, possible.
Later that same December 12 night KCOBA-ATL promoted its Annual George Thompson Memorial Scholarship fund raiser. Held in Alpharetta, Georgia, it turned out to be another successful event, the proceeds of which are used, as always, to fund scholarships.
Featured entertainment at the fund raiser included Entertainer Andrew Lawrence from “Dem 3 Tenors,” as well as fellow KCOB, DJ Migraine spinning the disks. The principal had attended, and so did many out-of-towners.
So overwhelming was the turnout that KCOBA-ATL president, Dr. Glen Laman, asserted: “Aided by unusually warm weather, the (fund raising event) saw a record attendance for the venue.”
In a nutshell, KCOBA-ATL’s commitment to KC is stronger than ever. The related outcome overall: Progress.
Derrick R. Wright