Olympian Blake returns to alma mater to 'give back'
ATLANTA Olympic Games mile relay bronze medallist Dennis Blake has expressed satisfaction with the outcome after spending a week at his former primary school conducting sporting clinics as a way of "giving back".
The graduate of St Elizabeth Technical (STETHS), who left the island in 1991 to attend Blinn Junior College in Texas, returned last week to where it all began at Morningside Primary in South St Elizabeth for a summer camp with students of the school.
"It gives me a sense of fulfilment. It's very rewarding just to know I am able to give back... but to be able to see the kids enjoying themselves. The bottom line is the kids have something to do as opposed to staying home and getting into trouble," Blake told the Jamaica Observer.
Blake, who was part of the men's 4x400m relay team that secured bronze at the 1996 Games in the United States, said he had been invited by the Morning Primary School's principal, Santie Faulknor to do the workshops.
"I do a lot of voluntary service especially for my primary school. I send lots of books to the point where they have enough until they ask me to please stop. We do clothes drive as well," he said.
The former national 400m champion, who attended Alabama A&M University where he studied general business, told the Observer that he was pleased with how the camp, which included elements of football, cricket, netball, and track and field had turned out.
"It was successful. I'm pleased. It was a pilot programme and I want it to be extended throughout the island. I look at how the kids participated. They had shown a lot of enthusiasm. They wanted it to go for two weeks... how early they got there and the kinds of questions they asked."
Blake also said he had identified some talent and alerted the school's sports coach to those youngsters.
Meanwhile, the school has also asked him to return to conduct future camps.