April 2020 Volume 16

A $1.2-Million Gift to KC

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Reprinted from the Jamaica Observer

Canadian bishop with no link to famous school makes it a four-timer

FOR the fourth-straight year a Canadian bishop who has no connection to Kingston College (KC) has given money to that all-boys' high school.

Administrative bishop for Eastern Canada, and pastor of Praise Cathedral Worship Centre in Mississauga, the largest black church in Canada, Lennox Walker, handed over a personal cheque valued at J$1.2 million to Kingston College officials yesterday, at the famous school's North Street main campus in Kingston.

The gesture followed one of Can$7,500 (about J$800,000) made to all-girls' school Merl Grove the day before.

The money will be used to help the schools fund multiple needs.

Speaking to sixth-form students of KC in St Augustine Chapel, in the presence of Principal Dave Myrie, Vice-Principal Juliet Wilson, and president of the KC Old Boys' Association, Florida Chapter, Audley Hewett, Bishop Walker had the audience spellbound at times with revelations of his tough life as a youth, leading to where he now is.

“I have never been to high school,” he disclosed. “I have often questioned myself by asking what if? What if I didn't change my life so that my children could have it good?

“I came so close to being killed in the ghetto in 1976 and I decided at that moment to put my life together. I asked myself, what if I was killed in 1976? … I would not have met my wife; and I would not have had sons who have made significant contributions to the Canadian system.

“I would not have been able to help that Guyanese man who needed stems for his heart surgery; I would never be in a position to build a clinic in Uganda; I would not have been able to travel to six continents across the world,” he stated, as the church remained quiet as it usually is at 2:00 in the morning.

Bishop Walker, who was born at Crooked River in Clarendon and emigrated to Canada as a young adult in 1986, underscored the importance of education, urging the students not to be distracted by certain negatives of life, including the temptation to chase girls.

“Education is the greatest tool. I know you as young men may be into the girls thing, but that can wait, because it can prove to be a distraction.

“I changed my life and decided to educate myself. Education allows you to sit at any table. The mind is a thought factory, one that produces great thought,” Bishop Walker said.

Myrie, who was described by Walker as “the greatest principal right now”, lauded the man of the cloth for his unwavering commitment to KC over the past four years, even though he is not an old boy, or had relatives who attended the school.

And as for his continued support of charities in Jamaica and elsewhere, Bishop Walker said that he would continue giving, as long as he is able to do so.

Hewett, who arrived in the island for last weekend's Gibson-McCook Relays, for which he is a director, urged old boys who can make contributions to do so, as KC was poised to “do even greater things”.

“We really need the support of those who can. Some have given generously, but we would love to hear from others. We have a great chance of defending our championship (Boys' and Girls' Athletic Champs) title later this month; our Schools' Challenge team is doing well, the footballers too; and the academic work this past year has been brilliant,” Hewett said.

Myrie confirmed that over 90 per cent of the boys who sat Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate subjects this past academic year were successful in five or more subjects.

“We want to move that to 100 per cent by next year,” the principal said. “Our passes in mathematics were over 93 per cent, and English it was over 92 per cent and could have been better. It will get better,” Myrie said of the school that was founded on April 16, 1925 and now accommodates around 2,000 boys.

The latest National Education Inspectorate report rated KC, among the institutions which made progress among the 653 schools inspected between September 2015 and June 2019, as “exceptionally high” in the leadership and management category.

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