MONTEGO BAY, St James - It began with 55 boys last year and this year there are hundreds of Cornwall College students waiting to be mentored by the school's alumni.
"We are looking at about 300 right now," a very pleased president of the New York chapter of the Old Boys Association, Barrington Harvey told the Jamaica Observer.
He and other alumni of the all-boys' Montego Bay-based school are on a mission to have their alma mater return to its former glory. This includes making sure students excel. Each alumnus works with one or multiple students, providing guidance as needed.
"What we as mentors aim to do is to expand students' capacity, expand their vision and optimise their achievement levels. We help the kids have a larger view of life, of the world, and to see themselves playing bigger and bigger roles in their community, the society and in their own lives," said another member of the organising team, David Grant.
"We aim to have each child pass the CXC exams with at least five subjects including English and mathematics. That's the short-term goal, the immediate goal," he added.
They expect that in the next three to four years, they will see the results of the work being put in now.
"Cornwall College is not ranked high enough for all of us as old boys. We have this desire to bring the school back to the glory days," Harvey said.
To do that, they will need more people to join their team of 40 mentors.
"If we can't get Cornwall boys to come in and be mentors, we may have to look further afield," Harvey said.
He stressed that the programme is a long-term initiative and he is pleased that it has been embraced by parents.
"A lot of parents that heard about the programme, when we first announced it, have been trying to reach us all year and now they are so happy that we are back with it," he stated.