Holy Trinity High School
All-Island Tour Powered by Emprezz & UNICEF & Supported by National Baking Company. Special thanks to Pure Water!
Kingston, 18 February 2014 – The Talk Up Yout School Tour visited Holy Trinity High School this week to have a panel discussion with them on the issues affecting them, their communities and Jamaica at large. Initially the students were so worried about making a good impression that they were reluctant to talk, but as usual, the charisma of Emprezz Golding washed over the room, as she reminded them that this is a platform for them to express their issues, without fear of disapproval. As soon as they realized nothing was off limits, the issues began to pour out.
The students expressed issues such as Teenage Pregnancy, The Fear of Failure, Child Abuse,Poverty, The Inadequate Police presence in their Communities and Disillusion with Politics and Politicians, Moral Decay, Crime and Violence, Skin Bleaching, Drug Abuse, Suicide and Peer Pressure.
4th form Student Council President, Odeka Haughton who sat on the panel, was very vocal about the problem of Moral Decay. She attributed this erosion to the loss of the family unit as a source of support and socialization for children. According to her, children are socialized by the media and music and the “unruly” teenager on the school bus or in the school, is simply a product of poor socialization. Guidance Counsellor Mr Daley agreed with her, but chided the students for taking the issues of their communities into the school, because school should be a separate entity and demands a different, more controlled type of behaviour.
One very vocal student in the audience had much to say about the reality of the issues teenagers face. According to him, it is imperative that young people learn to find inner strength and rely on themselves to develop appropriate behaviours if they are being led astray by the media and do not have a strong support system at home. This student admitted to everyone that he is a fatherless child but also added that despite this lack of a father figure he refuses to “turn a cruff”.
The most heated discussions of the day came predictably when the issues of The Police, The Government and Crime and Violence were raised. After allowing the students to rant and rave about their disappointment in the first two structures and their methods of dealing with the third, Emprezz stepped in and reminded the students of the importance of politics in any country. She reminded the students that they must never take anything anyone says as gospel and should always research the things they hear. Several students admitted that the issues they had raised were simply regurgitations of things they had heard people in their communities speaking about.
Once that chaff was cleared away, students began to give personal anecdotes. One student had witnessed the death of a man because the police did not respond quickly enough to being called. Another student had very compelling evidence about an incident of political malpractice and they all lamented the state of crime and violence in their communities. When Emprezz asked them to raise their hands if anyone they know had been killed through violent means, almost all the students raised their hands.
Steppa spoke to the students about learning to separate themselves from negative influences, learning to culture their minds as an arsenal against negativity. Steppa is The Senior Programs Director at The Ministry of Youth and Culture, and he spends time with youth in Juvenile Correctional Centres. He warned the students about the many paths paved with money and popularity that would lead right into a cell.
As usual, after completely exploring youth issues and finding solutions to the problems, Emprezz left a powerful tool of empowerment. Most of the students admitted to having financial difficulties paying for exams and their fear of leaving high school without being able to move on the tertiary education so Emprezz and Sherry Perrier, The Economic Adviser of the Tour gave them savings tips, studying advice and a reminder that no matter where you come from, you can succeed as long as you try hard enough and actively seek out opportunities to excel.
Children should be seen & heard. Many solutions were found and numerous young people said they were inspired, motivated and learnt a lot.
Written by: Kristeena Monteith for Talk Up Yout
Talk Up Yout
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