'C'Bar! C'Bar! C'Bar!' That thunderous call reverberated through the auditorium yesterday as the school celebrated its 23rd lien on the Mortimer Geddes Trophy for winning the ISSA GraceKennedy Boys' Athletics Championships.
It was the second consecutive year, the green-and-black standard bearers from Red Hills Road were having a packed auditorium to celebrate yet another remarkable achievement for the 101-year-old school.
Formed in 1912, the famed institution, which first won the prestigious event in 1930, is the second most successful school, eight behind arch rival Kingston Collage's 31 triumphs, and now two ahead of Jamaica College on 21 titles.
New principal Albert Corcho, who took over the reins in January, addressed the gathering of over 1,000 boys and staff. He spoke about the need for hard work of which success will follow.
"This victory underlines what is happening at Calabar — the new thrust. We know the type of talent we have, we know the hard work they have put in and we want to build on this victory in terms of transferring this energy into their school work," said Corcho.
The man who was also principal of both Munro College in St Elizabeth and Tarrant High School in the Corporate Area and a teacher of 15 years at Campion College, told the Jamaica Observer, he has started a new programme aimed at taking the school forward.
"What is about to start is our enrichment programme that is about to kick in. All the boys that are involved in track and field, we are going to have extra classes for them both in the morning and in the evening. We going to have some Saturday classes, we want to run some workshops so they can catch up," he noted.
"Cause the reality is that yes, we doing well at sports and I think Calabar is more than just sport. We have spoken to the boys already, we are going to engage the parents and inform them what is going to happen that the boys will be coming home a little later," he added.
"I am very confident that the same level of energy that we got from the track and field we can see that coming out in terms of their school work. So it means a lot to us. I am excited this morning, we spoke about the need to work hard and then the successes will come," said Corcho.
The morning devotion was also an emotional one as the school rallied behind former captain of the team, Demar Robinson, who was ruled ineligible to participate at the championships because he didn't meet the educational requirement of ISSA.
The principal handed over the trophy to Robinson who cried uncontrollably, and his teammates during the near hour-long devotion.
"The school going forward will put the measures in place to ensure what happen with a Robinson (never happen again)... the flip side is that we are going to use it now motivate, not only track and field students, but to motivate the entire students, and say 'listen despite what you are involved in, football, cricket, tracks, school work must be number one'.
"As administrators it is our job... we have to identify from very early and this process has started already, we will not leave any of our students behind. We are going to put in the extra work... some teachers have come on board already saying they are prepared to put in the extra three or four hours per week to help these boys," added Corcho.
Meanwhile, the de facto captain, Robinson who emotionally addressed the gathering, could not hold back the tears for more than one reasons.
"This is the greatest feeling knowing the struggles I have been going through for the last four weeks...the criticisms from people outside but I just maintain focus and lift my head up and we are the champions today," he said.
"Knowing that I will be leaving in June as this is my last year wearing the green and black colours is really hard on me," he admitted.
The high jumper, with a best of 2.15m and who couldn't represent his school, is now focusing on representing his country. "I am looking forward to the CARIFTA and to bring home the gold for my country and make my mom happy," he said..
Calabar rattled up 299 points, the exact figure the official Champs magazine had predicted to win and one youngster, Class Two's 16-year-old sensation, Michael O'Hara, amassed 27 points in winning three individual events and for the second consecutive year, he was voted MVP.
O'Hara won the 100m in 10.65 seconds, broke the record for the 110m hurdles with 13.45 seconds and completed his three-timer with a fantastic 20.63 in the 200m. He also helped Calabar placed third in the Class Two 4x100m relays.
"I am feeling good knowing I get MVP again. It's a great feeling knowing that I am out there doing my best and performing to get all three gold. I can't describe the feeling right now, I am very happy even though it is sad to know our captain will be leaving," he noted.
The rising star now has his attention on representing Jamaica at the CARIFTA Games in the Bahamas starting March 28 to cap a fine season. He is hoping to run 10.2 and 20.4 seconds in the sprints.