Prospect College, producers of outstanding young men
Three years ago when parents came to leave their sons at the semi-military Prospect College in St Mary, the atmosphere was one of gloom.
According to one mother, it was as if "we turned our backs on them".
But that mood has been transformed into one of joy as the parents of the batch of nine boys beamed with pride as they celebrated the accomplishment of their sons at their recent graduation from the institution.
Prospect College is the only one of its kind in Jamaica where the boys are required to become cadets. Although privately owned, the institution provides full scholarships to all students through the Mitchell Green Foundation to take care of their meals and housing.
In addition to a grade nine to 11 educational curriculum, the institution provides the boys with semi-military training which makes them good candidates for the Jamaica Defence Force and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
"Since its inception in 1956, Prospect College has been a source of transformation for students, providing the unique opportunity of semi-military training, exposure to musical instruments and education of a high standard," explained one parent, Velda Thomas.
The mother was expressing gratitude to the Mitchell Green Foundation on behalf of parents who attended the graduation ceremony last Saturday.
"I believe I can speak on behalf of the parents regarding the obvious transformation that we have seen in self-discipline, resilience as well as academic progress," she said.
Thomas said many parents did not know their sons would have become such well-rounded individuals.
"Many of us did not know that our sons would be able to wash, clean and cook and manage the farm, but you brought it out of them. Our sons entered the institution as sheltered boys, but now they are leaving as responsible young men. Thank you," she said.
Thomas also expressed her appreciation to both the academic and ancillary staff of the institution.
She went on to challenge the students to use the training received to make a meaningful contribution to society.
"We are proud of you. I challenge you to use the training you have received at Prospect College to serve God and your fellow men," she said.
Principal of the institution Gregory Wint pointed to the different paths the students will be embarking on. Four of the nine boys commenced working last Monday at the Prospect Plantation outside of Ocho Rios, two will be going on to sixth form in September, two are waiting to join the Jamaica Constabulary Force, while one will be pursuing a career in music technology.
"The boys were not only trained and sent from the institution with a well organised ceremony, but they were given all the relevant documents," Wint said. These included their National Insurance Scheme cards, Tax Registration Number, national identification and passports.
Valedictorian Cadet Captain Glendon Martin, who spoke on behalf of his class, said the young men are ready to take their place in society.
"We came here as ordinary young men, today we leave determined and disciplined young men with compelling character ready to take our rightful place in society," he said.
Minister of Education Reverend Ronald Thwaites who was guest speaker at the graduation lauded the institution for its contribution to education in Jamaica.
"We welcome private educational institutions of all sorts," he said.