Prospect College makes a difference for seven graduates

Sunday Observer writer

Sunday, July 22, 2018

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After the curtains came down on another memorable graduation ceremony on the lawns of Prospect College in Western St Mary on Saturday, July 14, few of the parents of the seven graduates shared with the Jamaica Observer how they felt about their sons' achievement.

They also expressed their gratitude to the institution they said had transformed the lives of their sons.

Prospect College is a semi-military high school, founded in 1956 by British philanthropist Sir Harold Mitchell. Graduates of the institution are expected to display the highest level of discipline.

Overwhelmed by pride and joy, Angella Paddyfoot, mother of graduate and valedictorian, Angellino Paddyfoot, told the Sunday Observer that words could not begin to express how proud she was of her son.

“I feel like I did well as a mother, a single-parent that is. I definitely feel good. I feel fabulous,” Paddyfoot said. “He did even better than I thought. I just ensured that I was here, that he sees me, hears my voice and I know that with me being here, he'd just go ahead and do what he has to because I'm always here with him to help him in whatever it is, to be his motivator and all of that,” she added.

Commenting on the impact that Prospect has made in her son's life, Paddyfoot said: “It has been great. I actually didn't want him to come here, but he wanted to. And the first year was really hard for him and he wanted to come out and I said no you are not coming out. And he did well. Before, he was a little slow, really slow, but when he came here, him just shot off…He's a lot better than before, believe me,” she said, adding that she credited the discipline instilled and the college's committed staff as the major contributors to her son's academic improvement.

Angellino, has already passed six CSEC subjects in the 10th grade and is awaiting the results for the exams he sat this year.

Perhaps more attached to the college than any other parent as she spent three months working in the school's kitchen as a replacement for the cook, Paddyfoot advised parents not to keep their sons away from the institution.

“I would advise every mother to send their son(s) here,” she said. “And I'm trying to get mothers with young sons, between 14 to 17, to let their sons come here. It's very good.”

For Errol Brown Sr, it was his wife's decision to send their son to the institution after his grades fell at his previous high school. It is a decision that he does not regret.

“I feel proud of him. It's a very good institution. Mi see weh it a work out fi him,” Brown said about his son, who has already sat and passed three Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate subjects in grade 10.

Petrena Newland, whose son Jace Mitchell has already passed four CSEC subjects in grade 10, said: “I'm really proud of him and I'm really thankful for this institution because it has brought him a far way.”

“It has brought him so far. I had a lot of problems with him in the past in terms of discipline and his reluctance to do his school work. That's where I had the most problems. But since he's been in this institution, for the first three months it was like a vast improvement. So I have no regret in that regard. The only regret I have is that I don't have another son to send here,” she added with a laugh.

The five other graduates were Tyrique Brown, who passed six CSEC subjects, with three distinctions, in grade 10; Jamar Bruce, who passed six CSEC subjects in grade 10; Jonathan Tulloch, who passed seven CSEC subjects in grade 10; and Shadaine Robinson, who passed two CSEC subjects in grade 10.

All are awaiting the results for their 2018 May/June CSEC subjects.

For Headmaster Gregory Wint, it's the discipline that makes a difference, as the college continues operating under its motto, “In Deo Spes”, which means “In God We Trust”.

“Discipline is the hallmark of what we do, as we recognised that there is a direct correlation between discipline, academic excellence and a successful life,” Wint told the Sunday Observer.

“In addition to discipline, at Prospect College we offer a holistic training, which includes teaching the students important life-coping skills that not only makes them rounded, but it separates them from their competition. Student leadership is also something that we promote among our students. We have also found that unearthing the leadership within our students early, not only motivates them to be the best they can be, but it enables them to transfer these qualities in all aspect of their lives,” he added.

As he closed the chapter on his Prospect College life, 17-year-old graduate Jamar Bruce told the Sunday Observer that he was “honoured and thankful to have been a part of the noble institution”.

For Bruce, his time spent at Prospect was transforming, as he was forced to become a man.

“I had an invigorating experience at the college. The school taught me how to be my own gentleman how to approach people with [intelligence]. This has helped me to be more outspoken and to man up and become my own motivator,” Bruce said, adding that before Prospect he had little regard for his appearance and academic future.

“I was the kind of student who really didn't care about myself,” he told the Sunday Observer. “People always tried to get me down, but I always pulled through...I was also not one that put much into academics when I was a student at St Elizabeth Technical High School, but I would still maintain an over-60 per cent average,” he shared.

But for Bruce, he recognised an immediate shift in his focus when he began attending Prospect.

“When I went to Prospect, I started changing how I went about doing my class work and my daily chores. I started paying more attention to myself, while still helping others.”

The young man told the Sunday Observer that though he did not hold any 'major' positions as a cadet, he ensured he helped out around the college, taking stock for his former drum major Rasaan Louden and assisting in the kitchen as the cook's aid.

Having already passed six CSEC subjects in grade 10 and waiting on the results of another two, Bruce said he had hopes of pursuing more CSEC subjects.

Asked what his immediate goals were, Bruce said: “At this moment, I am going to pursue a bachelor's degree in forensic chemistry at The University of the West Indies and join the Jamaica Defence Force.”

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