May 2019 Volume 15

KCOBA USA Inc. 36th Reunion & Awards Dinner Reflectio

Gerald Hector
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“SURREAL!!! Kingston College!!! Cannot be replicated!!! I Love KC.” That is a Facebook post by Ms. Ruth Miller, an avid Kingston College supporter. That was not some random utterance, but it was in response to the first class staging of the 36th Annual Reunion and Awards Dinner hosted by the Kingston College Old Boys Association USA Inc. (KCOBA USA Inc.) New York Chapter. This year’s event was standing room only. I have attended this event on a number of occasions, and I can unequivocally state that there were several factors at play in seeing such a bumper crowd and turnout. First, it is the undeniable love that old boys and supporters have for our storied institution. That trumps all other reasons. Second, it was the first such dinner after a hugely successful year at our alma mater both in the classroom and on the field of play, and everyone wanted to come out to celebrate our Manning Cup, Champs, Colts, Debate, and other teams. Third, it was the people who were honorees this year. Five Fortis legends in their own right: Dr. Millicent Comrie, Ms. Valerie Stephenson, Mr. David “Rambo” McCrea, Mr. Errol “Sala” Lewis, and Mr. Douglas “Dougie” Bell. All three variables created an atmosphere that was both magnetic and majestic. Fitting for purple royalty.

President Rainford Perry Bloomfield and the entire board of the KCOBA USA Inc. should be commended for staging an excellent event. All aspects of the event were expertly handled. Even when it became evident that this event had more interest than years past, they found a way to accommodate the Fortis family so that everyone enjoyed the proceedings. It was a night to honor our institution and five of our cherished alumni and supporters. It was only fitting that all had an opportunity to participate. You knew it was a good night when the lights to close the ballroom came on and the room was still crowded with people still dancing and having a good time.

Reflecting on the speeches that were given, one word comes to mind: humility. The biographical sketches of the honorees signaled what Bishop Gibson tried to embody in us all. As Fortisans we operate from an ethos that causes us to approach everything in life within a “Culture of Excellence.” The lives and accomplishments of our honorees depicted just that. Accolades abounded in the room. The love for these individuals was evident as sections of the ballroom were carved out for each person, while at the same time being united as one. That is what Kingston College embodies. We can be apart for a number of years, but when we get into the same space, it was like we just left 2A North Street, and we can pick up right where we left off. Once again, we are family.

There have been numerous reflections on our successes this year, but this night captured it in a way that will remain with us for some time. Never before have I witnessed generations of old boys coming together like this. We have often heard of the uneasy strife between the generations, but this year not only do I sense a renaissance of sorts happening at Kingston College, but I also sense a change in how we interact. Much of what we all do as old boys are mutually exclusive to each chapter around the globe, but as Fortisans we are inextricably linked. This event allowed for the generations of old boys to recognize that. I look no further than the new Fortis Nation Archives page that was created on the occasion of our alma mater’s 94th year of existence on April 16, 2019. That page encapsulates a virtual reality that was on full display in the banquet hall. Old boys from the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and the 2000s were all on one accord. It was a beautiful thing to see.

With all this positive energy emanating from the weekend of May 4, 2019, it is my earnest desire to see the Kingston College family build on the momentum of this spectacular 2018-2019 academic/athletic year to push our alma mater to even greater heights. I hope that we will seek to share our time, talent and treasure to extend the legacy of this great “purple” institution. It is our time now as old boys to ensure that the current Fortisans experience what we know, but on a higher level. That is what it is all about, charting a course for those youngsters to reach even higher. We have the capacity and the wherewithal to get that done.

If we are to allow the microcosm of what was on display at the 36 th Annual Reunion and Awards Dinner to dissipate then that would be a travesty. If anyone believes that it is prescient to “strike while the iron is hot,” now is that time. There are a number of irons in the fire, and if properly dispersed and managed, we can see Kingston College move even higher at a greater pace that will exceed all our expectations. Let us complete the Douglas Forrest Building with a new Library and four Computer Labs. Let us find ways to sponsor students who are in need of basic necessities to attend school but are too prideful to ask for assistance. Let us find the time to visit the youngsters at school so they can see what success looks like, and to provide a reminder that it is not from where you start, but where you end up. Hindsight being twenty twenty, I wished I had taped the entire proceedings to share with the current students so that they can see that they are a part of a fraternity and family that excels in all we attempt.

I have said many times before that Kingston College is not an institution of higher education. It is a philosophy by which we live our lives each and every day, and because we do, success chases us down. I guess it was even said in a more pointed way by Dougie Bell in his acceptance speech (paraphrasing), “You can never truly explain to anyone this thing called KC. People will never understand it. They have to experience it to truly understand it.”

In closing, I would like to remind us all that there are times when we chase moments, and there are times when moments chase us. I believe strongly that Kingston College is being chased by the past, present and future, and now is the time to step up and get the job done. The KCOBA in New York has given us a glimpse of what the possibilities are, and now it is up to us to seize the moment and live and learn at our growing edge that will lift Bishop Gibson’s vision even higher.

Peace and Blessings.

Gerald L. Hector

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