School #5 – Morant Bay High School
All-Island Tour Powered by Emprezz, UNICEF, National Baking Company, Purewater, NCYD, & Island Grill
Kingston, 2 October 2013 - Welcomed to the east by glorious showers of blessings, the Talk Up Yout School Tour visited Morant Bay High School on October 1st, the fifth stop on the tour so far. The Talk Up Yout School Tour is powered by Emprezz Golding, UNICEF, National Baking Company, Purewater and Island Grill. It was a beautiful day which saw an awe-inspiring panel discussion led by Emprezz and featuring popular Jamaican artiste Hezron, Youth Empowerment Officer - Dwayne Brown, one of the Vice-Principals of Morant Bay High Mrs Lorveen Bell-Coates and six students Bianca McGregor, Michaela Crooks, Sharalee Manning, Jevaughn Ogilvie, Onandi Whyte and Toni-Ann Goodlett.
The students of Morant Bay High School raised the calibre of the discussion to a new level by mentioning issues they face such as a Lack of Cooperation amongst Community Members, Loss of Community Parenting, Empty Promises of Politicians, Poor Quality Policing, a Lack of Employment Avenues for students leaving high school and the High Cost of Tertiary Education. Other important issues raised included Premature Sexual Activity and Teenage Pregnancy, Low Self-Esteem, Bullying, Bleaching, Verbal and Sexual Abuse, The Influence of the Media and Musicians, Poor Parenting and Peer Pressure.
The Vice Principal, Mrs Lorveen Bell-Coates attributed most of the personality and behavioural issues that the students display to a phenomenon she called “Barrel Children.” According to her, many of the children may live with only one parent or some other family member because their parents/parent works and/or lives abroad in order to support them. They will have all the latest gadgets etc., but they lack much more because their development has been affected by the lack of consistent parental involvement in their lives.
The students had much to say about the various roles politicians play in their communities, especially their shortcomings, but Emprezz, aiming to empower the youths, often twisted the discussion by asking them what they could do to help themselves. The sentiment of Youth Empowerment is one Emprezz has been impressing on all the schools visited so far. The aim of the discussions that take place is not only to find the issues, but to find tangible solutions to them, especially solutions that the youths can implement by themselves.
The astute students caught on to this theme quickly and Morant Bay High yielded very impressive solutions to the issues they gave. For example, when 1st form student Bianca McGregor mentioned the issue of politicians not fixing the roads, a student in the audience retorted by encouraging her fellow students to save their own money to buy materials to fix them.
On the issue of the influence of the media and musicians, the students unanimously supported the solution given by 6th form student Toni-Ann Goodlett. She suggested that young people must learn to filter; they must control what they listen to and internalize. Other students also added to the discussion by refuting the claim that musicians ought to be blamed for social issues.
Youth Empowerment Officer Dwayne Brown gave the students information about the purpose of the National Centre for Youth Development in their communities and how the NCYD could help them after which they were given help stickers from UNICEF.
Hezron also encouraged the students to listen to empowering and uplifting music; music which would give them good values and aspirations as well as the type of music which would give them good advice. Hezron’s performance brought the day to a close and the panellists were presented with gift baskets from National Baking Company.
The Talk Up Yout School Tour will be in Clarendon next, visiting Glenmuir High School so Youths get ready to TALK UP!
Quote of the Day:
"The Black skin is not a badge of shame, but rather a glorious symbol of national greatness." - Marcus Garvey
Written by: Kristeena Monteith for Talk Up Yout