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'Sweat, determination' secrets to Edwin Allen's success

Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Edwin Allen High School trained hard, competed with heart and took home the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/GraceKennedy Girls' Athletics Championships title last Saturday.

And to honour their fifth-consecutive and sixth overall in seven years, CEO of GraceKennedy Group Don Wehby is seeking to fulfil their desire for a synthetic track.

Wehby, who offered the school $120,000 for their four records broken — $30,000 each — declared that he “will be engaging” minister of sports Olivia Grange in discussion about establishing the track.

Should the track be laid in the near future, Edwin Allen would become the fourth high school in the island to achieve the feat and the first in rural Jamaica. They would follow the likes of all boys' school Calabar, Kingston College and Jamaica College, whose track is currently in the development process.

The girls from the Clarendon-situated Edwin Allen amassed 324 points for victory, 35 ahead of rivals Hydel High on 289 points, with Holmwood Technical four points behind on 285 points. St Jago (178 points) and Vere Technical (105.50 points) made up the top five.

Wehby, who is normally a figure at Calabar's celebration, decided to drop in at Frankfield to share in the young ladies' achievements.

“I wanted to come out here and see the school because they have won five years straight, so I wanted to see what was behind all of this success and now I see that it was a great execution of strategy. As a businessman I saw on Friday and Saturday nights that strategy being executed well and I really felt good about that.

“It has been an amazing morning, the school spirit is very high and I am happy to be here. I made a special effort to be here this morning because the Edwin Allen performances have been simply incredible and it is very encouraging,” Wehby told the Jamaica Observer during the morning devotion yesterday.

“I had the opportunity to meet Kevona [Davis] and Fiona [Richards] and I think those two are future stars to look out for. What we appreciate most as sponsors is the discipline showed by all the schools and we are extremely happy that we can sponsor up to 2025,” he added.

Though the celebrations have become all too familiar in the north-western Clarendon area, members of the community were still eager to celebrate the girls' achievements, while sparing a thought for the small boys' team which gave a commendable effort.

Edwin Allen was 12th in the boys' championships on 22 points at the five-day showpiece event at the National Stadium.

It was an epic battle of strength and perseverance for Edwin Allen to stave off the challenges both on and off the track, but even moreso on the track as Hydel and Holmwood both came within 20 points of the champions late in the final day.

Principal Everton Walters expressed his pride at what he describes as an honour to oversee such a great team.

“Gold medals aren't made of gold, they are made of sweat, determination and hard work, and the more difficult the challenge, the greater the happiness when success comes. And with that said, the Edwin Allen High School family has cause to celebrate because we were determined to hold on to our title,” Walters noted.

For Head Coach Michael Dyke, the latest title was the most rewarding of the six.

“This one was the most challenging one, not based on competition, but based on the fact that we had so many mishaps and other things not going in our favour. Despite that, the girls stuck to the task and defended their title.

“We will stand tall from here, we know that Holmwood and Hydel are coming strong, they have been there for the past two years, but we have no intentions of relinquishing the title anytime soon,” Dyke declared.

Following the devotion, the compound was transformed into a party setting as the celebrations intensified. From there they took to the road with the customary motorcade, which ended in Spalding.