A view from the outside: Well done Wolmer's Boys' Class of 1982
Bandele Sankofa, head of the Wolmer's Boys' School history department and a member of the institution's class of 1982, addresses Wolmerians during the handing over ceremony.
With Karyl Walker
The recent handing over of $1 million by members of the Wolmer's Boys' School Class of 1982 to their alma mater is worthy of high praise and commendation. If not for their benevolence, this group of former students should be commended for their commitment to assisting other students who now, and will in the future, attend the institution.
The money was collected over a matter of months through donations from the old boys and was officially handed over during the group’s first reunion week of activities at the school’s Heroes Circle base in Kingston.
The Class of ‘82 has adopted the school’s science lab and the money was handed over directly to the head of the school's science department, Rassan Smith.
Apart from assisting students who sit in the same classrooms they themselves were taught the rudiments of the sciences, arts and how to become a rounded individual, the move is also one that assists in nation building as these students are not only Wolmerians but Jamaicans who, if they live up to their full potential, can create wonders and push Jamaica’s image further into a positive sphere.
The move is also praiseworthy due to the fact that the Class of ’82 has only come together since 2016 and since then has taken on a number of initiatives to assist the school.
Utilising the social media platform Whatsapp, the conceptualisers, Balford Douglas, Walter Brown, Lloyd Plummer, Steve Salmon, Jerome Waite and Lorne Bryan, rallied the troops and soon the group had members communicating daily from around the globe.
The group’s current president, Bandele Sankofa, is himself an old boy who pursued higher learning at the University of the West Indies and returned to the school to teach history. Sankofa is now the head of the school’s history department.
But the Class of ’82 is more than just pooling funds and posing for media cameras to donate a symbolic cheque.
This group of Jamaicans have embarked on other initiatives to ensure that the tradition of Age Quod Agis – translated from Latin to mean Whatever You Do, Do It Well – is forever embedded in the minds of the young Jamaicans who attend the Wolmer's institution.
The Class of ’82 has mentored students, donated laptop computers and projectors, painted the first form block, embarked on a yearly project of watering the school’s football field during the months of drought leading up to the beginning of the schoolboy football season, provided free security consultancy, and most contentiously led a movement through a stinging petition to rid the school’s representatives in sport and other disciplines of donning the ‘wrong’ colours of red and yellow instead of the maroon and gold which is a standard, among other initiatives. Despite being branded in some quarters as noisy rabble rousers, this group of former students stuck to their guns and has shown a dedication to their alma mater that is more than admirable.
After a few hiccups, the school’s Manning Cup team now represent the school in the ‘right’ maroon and gold colours this season.
The Class of ’82 is but one group that is part of the wider Wolmer's Old Boys Association but has this year stood out for their thoughtful move in assisting Jamaica through their school. Only good can come of it.
As a seasoned journalist who has stomped the pavement covering crime for almost two decades, I am well aware that blood, gore and bad news in general sells. Too often we are bombarded with sob stories and the bad things that some Jamaicans involve themselves in. Dog bites man is not news, but man bites dog certainly is.
This is not one of those man bites dog pieces. It is one geared at motivating all old students of all schools in Jamaica to take a leaf out of the book of Class of 82 and assist those youngsters who now hold a place you once held.
Think about it. You are giving back to your school but greater than that you are building Jamaica – a country whose youth are in a quagmire of economic social and political mess and who needs all the assistance they can get from any quarter to save those of that generation who are not yet branded irredeemable.
As a resident of South Florida, I am well aware that a number of alumni groups embark on fundraising activities annually to raise funds for their alma maters and I wish to use this medium to encourage them to continue to build Jamaica land we love by giving the youngsters the only tangible thing that can make a difference – an education.
That is my view from the outside.