Talk Up Yout School Tour - November 29, 2017 - Donald Quarrie High School
Facilitated By Talk Up Yout & Emprezz Golding
Investors in Youth: National Baking Company, CranWata & Stanley & Empress
Kingston, 30 November 2017 — For 40 years Donald Quarrie High School has striven to attain “Excellence through Diligence” and to live up to the legacy of their namesake — legendary Jamaican Olympian Donald Quarrie (CD). It hasn’t been an easy road but on Wednesday, November 29 when the Talk Up Yout Team visited the school for a single school tour event this year — they found an amazing mix of confident, outspoken students eager to talk up about the issues affecting them and to find solutions to these issues.
The school tour began with Talk Up Yout’s premier partner National Baking Company and sponsor CranWata/Wisynco interacting with the students in a one-on- one setting in their classrooms — getting them excited about the session to come and giving them opportunities to win prizes for answering trivia questions and riddles. This also gave the companies an opportunity to learn more about their young customers who enthusiastically praised the brands for taking the time out to meet them.
Then came the auditorium session with hundreds of students, led by Emprezz Golding, who energized the audience with affirmation chants like “I love my mind. I am powerful. I am strong. I am intelligent. I have purpose. You will respect me. I am honorable. My mind is powerful.” Once the students were fully energized they wasted no time in seizing the microphone and using the opportunity to speak up about the real issues they face. Issues like Violence in Schools, Peer Pressure, Misbehaving Students, Corporal Punishment, Child Abuse, Peer Pressure, Bullying and Poverty were the main ones raised by the students on the panel which included Abrahana Robinson of Grade 7, Daniel Needham of Grade 8, Ashley Griffiths of Grade 9, Seyona Sutherland of Grade 10 and Lennardo Green of Grade 11, Omar Seabourne of Grade 12 and Dean of Discipline Mrs. Sheryl Hibbert-Hylton.
However, one of the most impactful moments came when a student, Ashanti Gowie, became emotionally distressed while making an impassioned plea to child molesters. “LEAVE CHILDREN ALONE!” she said firmly, as tears welled in her eyes. “When you molest a child you’re tearing them up inside, you’re mashing up their future.” Her powerful remarks resulted in resounding applause and cheers from her peers. When asked to find solutions to child molestation — most of the students called for harsher penalties for child molesters including life imprisonment and hanging.
Many of the issues raised by other students in the audience were related to the public opinion of the school and they did not hesitate to speak up not only about how their behaviour and that of their peers negatively affected the perception of the school but also spoke directly to their peers urging them to be better behaved. Grade 9 representative Ashley Griffiths also shared her opinions on this issue saying “People say the students behave badly and it’s true. They cuss bad words, lift up their clothes in the buses, loiter in the bus park. Dat nuh mek nuh sense. Some people cuss us but I don’t wrong the people because it’s true. But cussing them won’t make them any better. Talk to us.” Many students in the audience agreed with her and shared their own stories of witnessing their peers defacing public property and fighting each other over slightest disagreements and being disruptive in class, forcing teachers to spend time disciplining them as opposed to teaching.
Grade 8 student, Daniel Needham who represented his year group on the panel raised the issue of students fighting at school and also raised the issue of students being disrespectful to teachers. “When teachers talk to them they want to curse the teachers and all tell them to s*** dem madda.”
While, Dean of Discipline Mrs. Hibbert commended the students for taking an interest in making the school better she largely agreed with the students and pointed out that the school has been addressing these issues by teaching the students proper dispute resolution however she admitted that without their parents re-enforcing these values at home — it is difficult to see real change in the students’ behaviour. “We have them for 5 hours per day. They are at home for 19 hours. When we tell them to get an adult instead of reacting violently — they go home to their communities and see people doing the exact opposite. Only a handful of parents show up to Parent Teacher meetings so we need more support from our students’ families.”
Right throughout the entire session Emprezz led the students in developing solutions to the issues affecting them. One student recommended that the school hold meetings between students and teachers to resolve disputes between them. Another suggested that students who are being led astray by their peers should find new friends who will help them to engage in productive activities. Emprezz also used her own story and life experiences to connect with the students and inspire them. She opened up about her own tumultuous youth — having got into a couple fights herself but learning to resolve disputes more safely and responsibly. She also spoke about the strong men in her life — like her father and husband, and encouraged the young men in the audience to be responsible men and good fathers.
To wrap up the sessions, the students on the panel ended with their final pieces of advice which included “You are the future, be the best you can be”, “Listen to your children and make sure they feel comfortable to come to you and talk to you”, “Let people step into your child’s life and support them, it takes a village to raise a child”, “Stay positive”, “Teachers need to listen to students and help them believe in themselves” and “Change your mind from negative thoughts and behaviours.”
The team from National Baking Company then led the students through a series of fun activities including a dance competition to create a National Bakery dance in which the winning dances were “Butter the bread” and “Run fi di Duplex”. Although this was not a Youth Empowerment Through Dialogue Session, in true #YoutfiChat style civic engagement was included in the activities including opportunities to win prizes by answering questions like, “If I were the Minister of Security, what would I do to solve crime?” or “Why is Talk Up Yout important to you?” to which a student replied “It gives us an opportunity to talk up and we feel like what we have to say is important. We can talk and people listen and that’s not how it always goes in real life.”
Talk Up Yout Sponsor CranWata also revealed the winner of the CranWata-Talk Up Yout Wow Scholarship — Grade 11 student Lennardo Green! He was awarded a scholarship valued at $150,000 for tertiary studies. In Lennardo’s scholarship entry he spoke about doing carpentry, painting and welding work while going to school to “contribute to my family’s budget” and admitted that he is excited to take CSEC next year and become the first person in his family to pass 8 subjects.
It was another amazing Talk Up Yout School Tour to wrap up Talk Up Yout Season 7 as the final episode, episode 10 — “Youth & Community” aired on TVJ at 6 PM. It was an amazing season in terms of public reception and lives changed. The topics covered have resonated with young people around the world and Talk Up Yout remains committed to the mission of “Giving the Youth a Voice”, just like the team did at Donald Quarrie High School.
Written by Kristeena Monteith for Talk Up Yout.
Talk Up Yout School Tour- September 28, 2016
St. Mary High School
Facilitated By Talk Up Yout & Emprezz Golding
Investors in Youth: National Baking Company, Cran-Wata & Stanley & Empress
The 2016 Talk Up Yout all island school tour started off with high energy at St. Mary High School. Decked in their Green and White uniforms, the young men and women of St. Mary High entered their school’s auditorium raging with excitement to let their voices be heard. The proceedings began with a round of big ups to their teachers, counselor and principal lead by Emprezz. The panel included students from different grades and of different genders; Ayahna Thomas Grade 7, Bradwell McLeod Grade 9, Abigale Bradley Grade 13 (Head Girl), Romane James Grade 11 and Drew Davis Grade 10. As their motto states with “Faith and Courage” the students spoke about the issues affecting them in their school and community and they sent personal messages to the person responsible for assisting with those issues.
Issues from the Panelists
Ayahna Thomas believes that “Peer Pressure” is one of the leading problems affecting our youth today and said that some of the brilliant students change who they are and lower themselves to fit in the popular groups. Students from the audience got involved and gave some interesting points on that matter saying children who are prevented by their parents to do certain things often hide and “smoke and go to parties”. The issue of peer pressure was enforced by another panelist Drew Davis. Drew started off by asking a very important question “Why do the brilliant people lower themselves to fit in the popular crowd?” and her answer was blunt and straightforward “Fear of acceptance and the need to belong” Some points leading from that issue were that the youth gravitate to negativity because it takes a lot more effort to do good and people on a whole like to do what is easier so the bad usually stands out more than the good.
Bradwell McLeod said “another major issue we face (not just youth) is financial crisis and his reason for this is that we don’t spend money wisely. Most parents rather spend their money on material things rather than investing in their children.” Abigail Bradley believes that youth face major problems with Education. She believes that morals and values have declined because the educated persons who don’t have the money to further their education are not motivated to do so, especially when they see the less educated with money and links able to move forward, this causes a feeling of hopelessness. She also believes that the government should take more interest in investing in the education and talents of the youth despite their personal financial background. One student from the audience highlighted that with better educational options and more opportunities to explore our talents, the country would have less unemployment issues and our economic problems would decrease. A Grade 7 student (male) sent a personal message to Mr. Ruel Reid stating the importance of free education on all levels. The next issue brought up by panelist Romane James was “Bullying”. He clearly stated that this may be verbal or physical. One student explained that he is a bully today because he was bullied in the past and he does this to protect himself from other bullies. Ashley Burnard of Grade 12 expressed that the best way to deal with bullies is to find someone to confide in and seek their help not to retaliate.
Some other issues brought up by Emprezz and the students in the audience were;
The St. Mary High School Band entertained us with two beautiful items highlighting their competence with their voices and on different instruments. Birthday girl Candice Clarke was the winner of the Cran Wata song competition. She was elated and stated that it was her best birthday after receiving her gift of $5000 and a Cran Wata gift bag. Despite all the fun and excitement, the panelists ended the program by putting together a list outlining what they think some of the rights of youth should be.
The youth should have a right to:
Written by: Deondra Riley for Talk Up Yout.
Talk Up Yout School Tour
Created & Designed by: Emprezz Golding
Powered by National Baking Company
Associate investor: CranWata
A Stanley & Empress Production
‘Giving the Youth a Voice”
Hydel High School, St. Catherine, Jamaica
Soaring upwards on the wings of excellence is the motto for the Hydel Group of Schools and the ‘Talk Up Yout’ team got to experience how true those words are on Tuesday October 27th when the ‘Talk Up Yout’ school tour stopped by to give the students at Hydel a chance to talk up on their concerns and give their own solutions for many issues facing youth in Jamaica.
The topics & Solutions discussed included peer pressure, Suicide, gender roles, abuse, slavery, self-confidence, politics and much more..
Here is a snippet of the 3 hour session!
For Pictures Click Here: TUY HYDEL PICS
Talk Up Yout School Tour- October 15, 2015.
Facilitated By Talk Up Yout & Emprezz Golding
Charlie Smith High School, Kingston 10
The Talk Up Yout all island school tour powered by Stanley and Empress Productions, National Baking Company and Cran Wata, took the road again, this time stopping at the Charlie Smith High School in Kingston 10. The school stands in the heart of a tough inner city community faced with poverty and violence. Although faced with many issues including the need for an Auditorium and shelter for the school canteen, the students that walk through the gates of Charlie Smith High each morning are governed by their school’s motto “Effort the key to success’. The Talk Up Yout team rolled into the school early and could tell from the energy that the students were ready for the opportunity to have their voices heard.
The Panel Discussion
Representing their school mates in the panel discussion were: eight grader Jannoya Grant, tenth grade student Romeo Gutthre and eleventh grade students Calvin Evans and Alaine Bryan. The discussion was moderated by Emprezz Golding who had the students voicing their opinions and concerns and giving their solutions on topics ranging from depression and suicide amongst the youths, violence, politics, music and entertainment.
Alaine Bryan felt that the main problems facing the nations youths are the high level of violence and crime against them. These crimes she said include the murder and the rape of many children. She stated that the government needs to do more to urgently address this issue. Romeo Gutthre felt that the problem the youths are facing is indiscipline amongst them. Using their school as an example Romeo and then Alaine both explained how the fighting amongst their peers is often distracting. Alaine wasn’t afraid to Talk Up about the number of fights she has witnessed because young ladies are fighting about boyfriends and male students because of gambling. She feels that parents need to search their children’s bags for weapons before they leave the house each morning. The students and teachers all agreed when she mentioned the need for a metal detector and sometimes JDF presence at the school. The question of how they would solve some of the school’s issues was raised. Abigale Willis gave one of the best statements of the day saying that students needed to turn all the negatives into a positive and put the energy they place in fighting and gambling in their school work.
The youngest member of the panel Jannoya, felt that politics is Jamaica’s biggest problem. She believes that politics in Jamaica only brings violence and not much else. Emprezz gave her views on what she believes governance should be about in any country and then asked the students if they felt that the government are the ones that are supposed to feed the people. She got a resounding yes. Abigale Willis sought to clarify her school mates’ response saying that the government didn’t have to directly feed them but needed to decrease the taxes on the food items mainly bought by poor people; items such a chicken back, tin mackerel and tin corned beef. She felt that by doing this the poor people especially those in the inner city would be able to afford to feed themselves. Her statement was met with loud applause and ‘Talk up yout” chants from her peers who were in full agreement.
Eleventh grader Aaron McCooty spoke about how he needed the Government to create more jobs for students about to leave high school and lower current school fees and transportation fees as sometimes his parents can hardly find the money needed to send him to school each day. On that note Emprezz then asked the students what they would like to say to the minister of education. Most of the students expressed that they would like to talk to him about their concerns in regards to the merger of their school with another high School in close proximity. They are of the opinion that the Ministry of Education did not really have their best interest at heart when they made the decision.
When asked if they knew how to deal with depression and suicidal thoughts and whether or not they spoke to their school’s guidance counsellor many of the answers were split. The male students said that would rather deal with their issues themselves. One male student Shamari Nicholson said that he deals with his personal problems by going to sleep. He said that he was feeling the stress of finding a job even though he wants to focus mainly on his studies. He believes though that the males in his school should speak to the guidance counsellor. Abigale Willis said that of the two guidance counsellors at the school she would feel more comfortable talking to the female as she feels she would be more able to understand what she is going through as a woman.
Music and Entertainment
Calvin Evans stated that has he is a Christian thus he listens to positive music mainly gospel. Other members of the panel spoke on how raw some of the music being recorded by dancehall artiste such as Vybz Kartel and Alkaline are, and how sometimes music is a distraction as on the school compound during free periods most students instead of reading or studying prefer to listen to music and much of what they are listening to are the sexually explicit songs by some dancehall artiste. Cran Wata ambassador Tony ‘Bella’ Blair stopped by to encourage the youths to dream big and believe in themselves. She spoke on how having parents who supported her goals and having an education was very important and helped her in reaching her full potential.
The day ended on a very high note with students winning great prizes from lead sponsor National Baking Company and new sponsor Cran Wata. Shamara Ellis an 8th grade student won the Beauty of the day prize. Emprezz being the Philanthropist that she gave five thousand dollars to a student to invest in his dream to build a chicken coop and another student a promising footballer received cash towards buying a new pair of football boots from Talk Up Yout. The Talk Up Yout concert featured a military style performance lead by Renaldo Mc Donald and Shamir Nicholson who had all the students participating in their song. Theona gave a powerful rendition of Etana’s hit single Roots. Emprezz said that what made it all worthwhile was having Oshawne Stenett express to her that by coming to his school she has made a difference in his life and has given him and extra boost of confidence.
Written by: Yasheka Reid- for Talk Up Yout.
Talk Up Yout School Tour – September 29, 2015
Yallahs High School
Yallahs, St. Thomas, Kingston, Jamaica
Powered by Talk UP Yout, National Baking Company and CranWata.
A Stanley & Empress Production
Designed & Moderated By Emprezz Golding
Kingston, 30 September 2015 – The Talk Up Yout School Tour is back! The team visited Yallahs High School in St. Thomas this week to engage the students of that school in an open discussion, allowing them to talk up about their issues and find their own solutions to these issues.
Sitting on the panel with Emprezz were Nickoy Graham of Grade 7, Jahiem Dwyer of Grade 8, Zadie-Ann Sinclair of Grade 9, Dacia Ward of Grade 10 and Jovaun Walker of Grade 11.
The students opened up to Emprezz, who led the discussion, immediately and spoke candidly about issues such as Suicide, Child Abuse, Neglect, Low Self-Esteem, Teenage Pregnancy, Abstinence, Child Sexual Grooming, Transactional Sex, Peer Pressure, Good Governance, Education and Poverty.
One of the most significant moments of the day came when student Tia Henry, who was sitting in the audience became emotionally distressed while talking about a friend of hers who committed suicide less than a week ago. “It really hurts.” She said, while Emprezz embraced her and asked the students to stand if they felt suicidal, which resulted in at least 20 students rising from their seats. They were each given an opportunity to talk about why they felt suicidal and reasons given ranged from feelings of loneliness to feeling as if the negative economic situation of their parents was their fault. As heart-breaking as it was to witness, the path to healing was firmly laid by Emprezz and Guidance Counsellor Mr. Howell, as the students were encouraged to support each other and most importantly, to talk up and seek help when they feel suicidal.
Many of the issues raised were related to Sex and Sexual Abuse. Grade 7 student, Nickoy Graham who represented his year group on the panel first raised the issue of Sexual Abuse and made sure to stress that it happens to both boys and girls. He was supported by his peers with chants of “Talk Up Yout!” and anecdotal evidence coming from students in the audience who had many stories to tell. Some related incidences of adult women luring students into inappropriate sexual contact in exchange for their “Lunch Money”, teachers at other schools sending nude pictures to their students and even parents having sex with their children.
On the other hand, Grade 11 student Jovaun Walker spoke about finding abstinence exceedingly difficult. According to him “Yallahs High School is full of beautiful women.” These beautiful women apparently distract him from his academic studies. He was also supported by his peers who called for more conversations about Sex, Sexuality and Puberty to happen in schools, but on a one and one basis where they would feel more comfortable speaking openly about their personal issues.
For every issue raised, the students were guided in finding solutions by Emprezz. One student recommended that other students who received nude pictures from teachers, ought to screenshot these images as evidence when they report it to authorities such as their Principal which Emprezz supported by reminding students of the 1-888-PROTECT number to call when they need help. Other students stressed the importance of talking up, which spurred on a conversation about Jamaica’s “Informa fi dead” culture. Emprezz reminded the students that not only was informing necessary, it could protect them from predators who thrive on their silence.
Always seeking to empower and educate Emprezz spoke to the students about understanding their innate greatness, finding role models and using their paths to success as stepping stones to overcome challenges. She also reminded them that education can happen anywhere, not only at school and charged them to use the internet for productive purposes such as finding inspirational quotes, studying the philosophies of Marcus Garvey and educating themselves.
On the lighter side, all the students on the panel were given stationery and gift baskets from Talk Up Yout’s major partner National Bakery, and all students present were given tasty treats and National Bakery snacks. They also had opportunities to compete for giveaways such as gift bags and watches and monetary prizes.
Students were also treated to an inspirational address from popular YouTube vlogger, comedic actress, singer/songwriter Bella Blair, who is a brand ambassador for CranWata. She used her life story to show the students that hard work, perseverance, ingenuity and innovation can override any stumbling block in their paths, and led two students in a DJ competition designed to help them to overcome their shyness.
It was a day that could only be described as inspirational to all involved. Many issues were discussed, solutions were found and friendships were formed. Some of the final words of the students on the panel included “Do the best you can,” “Use mistakes as stepping stools,” “Choose your friends wisely” and “Don’t let anyone put you down because of the school you attend. Nuh school nuh betta dan none.” Grade 9 representative Zadie-Ann Sinclair had a message to Child Molesters. “All the men out there thinking about taking away a child’s future, think again.”
Written by: Kristeena Monteith for Talk Up Yout
For More Pictures Visit Click the link below:
Talk Up Yout School Tour to Ardenne High School, powered by Emprezz Golding, Ardenne Student Council, National Baking Company and CranWATA
Kingston, 30 October 2015 – Talk Up Yout Executive Producer Emprezz Golding and CranWATA visited Ardenne High School and gave an inspirational address to more than 200 students from more than 5 different corporate area schools.
Talk Up Yout is a household name in youth advocacy and development and the day’s session was designed to give young people the opportunity to decide which youth issues are most important to them and to develop their own solutions to these issues.
The audience was comprised mainly of students from Ardenne High School and their Students Council Representatives as well as Students Council Representatives from Holy Childhood High School, The Queen’s School, St. Hugh’s High School for Girls, Immaculate Conception High, Excelsior High School.
Student representatives from the various schools raised issues such as violence against children, teenage pregnancy, discrimination, a lack of knowledge of Jamaican history, youths not being able to talk to their parents and low self-esteem. The students’ solutions involved expanding education to include topics such as conflict resolution and thorough sexual education.
Other solutions included embracing each other’s individuality and being supportive. Students urged their parents to become more involved in their lives and asked for more seminars like Talk Up Yout to teach them how to handle pressure and how to empower themselves.
Jordan Anderson of Ardenne High School received resounding applause when he expressed his opinion that if youths knew more about how tactical and intelligent Jamaica’s National Heroes such as Nanny of the Maroons and Marcus Garvey were, they would be less likely to resort to violence to solve problems and they would think more highly of themselves. After giving the students the opportunity to express themselves, Emprezz addressed each of their issues and also provided them with additional solutions.
She motivated them with chants about respecting their bodies, their minds and their country. She gave them information about how to choose role models, seek knowledge, work hard, find and create employment opportunities for themselves and design the kind of life they wanted to have. One student was so moved by Emprezz’ obvious passion for the youths that she requested an opportunity to speak to the audience. According to her youths bleach their skin and disrespect themselves because they are mentally enslaved. She asked her peers to be confident and to rise above negative influences.
CranWATA Brand Ambassador and popular internet vlogger “Bella Blair” was also on hand to offer words of encouragement to the students. Bella is a former Holy Childhood student and CARIMAC graduate who has a passion for Arts. A “Jill of all trades” Bella is a comedic actress, singer, songwriter, editor, script writer among other things and urged the students to balance their time between following their passions and getting their education.
She also inspired them with the story of her road to success and spoke eloquently about how important it is for young people to have good support systems to help them make good academic choices, health choices and life choices. At the end of the session refreshments and gift baskets for the student representatives were provided by CranWATA and WATA. The students also urged Emprezz to visit again.
Quote of the DAY: “WEIRD is just a word to describe people who are Wise, Educated, Intelligent, Real and Determined.” – Ardenne Students: Jermaine Francis, Ashley-Gayle Lyons and Tamali Stewart.
Written by Kristeena Monteith for Talk Up Yout!
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
School #14 – Haile Selassie High School, St. Andrew: The Final Stop of the school tour for 2013
All-Island Tour Powered by Emprezz, UNICEF, National Baking Company, Purewater & Island Grill
“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” One of the greatest humans in history uttered those powerful words, and it is after him that the Talk Up Yout School Tour’s final stop, Haile Selassie High School is named. The Talk Up Yout School tour is sponsored by Emprezz, UNICEF, National Baking Company, Purewater and Island Grill and was accompanied by representatives from the OCR, UNICEF, Steppa and DJ Bambino.
What issues do youths attending school and/or living in Payne Land face? What do they know of the general youth issues in Jamaica? Where do they get help when they need it? These are the questions the Talk Up Yout School tour aimed to answer by way of a panel discussion with 5 students, representing grades 7 to 11 of Haile Selassie High School – Neville McIntosh, Dale Campbell, Raheem Angus, Shelby Parke and Deana-Kay Thomas. The students were joined on the panel by their Guidance Counsellor Jacqueline Bryan, their Vice Principal, Steppa and DJ Bambino.
The discussion was also open to students in the audience who wished to comment or to share their experiences and observations. These issues included Crime and Violence, Rape, Child Abuse, Child Neglect, Illiteracy, Unemployment, Lack of Access to Tertiary Education, Bleaching, Premature Sexual Activity, Transactional Sex, Child Prostitution, Bullying, Low Self-Esteem, Peer Pressure, Teenage Pregnancy, Sexually Transmitted Infections and Diseases, Unprotected Sex, Suicide, Depression, Self-Mutilation, Drug Abuse, Weapons in School, Poor Parenting, Extortion in Schools and Indiscipline.
Many of the students expressed a wish to be better parents than their own parents. The grade 7 representative spoke about his dedication to being a good father, by ensuring that his children would not be allowed to do “certain things” until he dies.
Other students spoke about young girls in their communities who are being “prostituted” by their own mothers, while others turn to transactional sex for money and “pretty clothes”. This discussion encouraged one student to speak up about what she had seen in her community and to issue a strong plea to men in society to leave the little girls alone.
Another issue which sparked much discussion was the issue of bleaching. The general consensus amongst the students of Haile Selassie High was that bleaching is an undesirable activity, which never enhances the beauty of a person, but rather exposes them to various skin diseases and also diminishes their ability to become gainfully employed. Emprezz spoke one-on-one with several students in the audience who were bleaching, asking them why they bleach among other questions. They generally dodged the questions and hid from the camera.
Both DJ Bambino and Steppa had strong messages for the students. DJ Bambino urged them to develop strong identities and a sense of character, so that they will be less susceptible to negative influences from music, musicians and other figures in the entertainment industry.
Steppa spoke about his experiences in Juvenile Correctional Centres, and urged the students to stay positive and on the straight path because he has seen where the “bad man” path leads to and it isn’t a very nice place.
Their Vice Principal and Guidance Counsellors also had similar messages for them, reminding them that they have endless possibilities and they should seek positivity and aim to achieve the highest standard. The students were also spoken to by Child Ambassadors from the OCR, and given Help Stickers from UNICEF.
Endlessly motivating the students, Emprezz empowered them with words from strong black leaders such as Haile Selassie and Marcus Garvey. She shared with some unconventional roads to success and urged them to never stop thinking outside of the box and trying to succeed.
Sherry Perrier, an Economic Advisor on the Talk Up Yout School tour, also gave them savings tips and encouraged them to become entrepreneurs through a “Economic Generator” game. The aim of the game was to create a business idea that could, in the space of a year, double the start-up capital of $2000 Jamaican dollars. The winning business idea was a beaded bracelet company, and the student who came up with it was given the $2000.
Finally, after the students on the panel were presented with baskets courtesy of National Baking Company, Haile Selassie High School’s talented Speech Choir and Dancers performed for everyone; a precursor to DJ Bambino’s entertaining performance using his skills on the turn tables.
The Talk Up Yout School Tour 2013, has visited 14 schools, one in each parish of Jamaica, and on this tour we have encountered negative issues, positive students and pro-active school administrators. It will take constant effort on the part of all stakeholders to fix these issues. Therefore, it is time we rallied around our children and gave them the support they need. Follow @TalkUpYout on twitter, Talk Up Yout TV Show on Facebook, visit our blog and Youtube page, and find out how you can help these youths. Be an agent of Social Change, Shatter the Silence and remember to always Talk Up Yout.
Written by Kristeena Monteith
School Stop #13 – Manchester High School
All-Island Tour Powered by Emprezz, UNICEF, National Baking Company, Purewater & Island Grill
Manchester High School in Mandeville had the lucky distinction of being the 13th stop on the Talk Up Yout School Tour which is sponsored by Emprezz Golding, UNICEF, National Baking Company, Purewater and Island Grill. With a motto like “Sic Luceat Lux” which roughly translates to “So Shines the Light” the enlightened students shed light on many of the issues being faced by youths in Manchester and Jamaica at large.
Emprezz led the panel which consisted of students from grades 7 to 13 Alex Blackwood, Michale Simpson, Davaughn McAnuff, Alyssa Boothe, Steven-Paul McLean and Kerice Coke the Head Girl. Also on the panel was their Guidance Counsellor Ms Althea Brown. Representatives from the NCYD – Keitho Nembhard and OCR – Paulette Laing were also present to give advice about their particular organizations to the students.
Emprezz opened the discussion by asking the students to speak about their individual observations as it regards issues in their school, parish and country, then she asked students in the audience to volunteer to answer the same question. This yielded issues such as Lack of Role Models, Loss of Values and Morals, Unnecessary and Impractical Subjects, Small Classrooms, Substance Abuse – especially Cannabis Sativa (ganja or marijuana), Crime and Violence, Peer Pressure, Lack of Practical Education for example: Entrepreneurship Classes, Ineffective Governance of the Country, Physical and Mental Abuse, Materialism, Mental Slavery and Lack of Access to Tertiary Education.
Students expressed powerful and sometimes controversial opinions on the issues such as the Role of the Church in Education, Mental Slavery and the Role of the Government. One student was of the opinion that Europe and American did not “underdevelop” Africa, rather that Africans sold their brothers into slavery for selfish reasons. This idea was challenged both by the students around him and by Emprezz who reminded him that things are never as simple as that. She expanded the thought by pointing to the fact that many of these “Selfish Africans” were themselves captured and threatened with violence to capture their fellow Africans.
One student openly voiced her opinion that there are no role models in this country. Others bashed churches for secularizing and becoming profit-driven multi-billion dollar industries. Another spoke about his experience with a particular church whose pastor refuses to continue with him sermon unless there is more than $30,000 in the Collection plate.
However in the spirit of uplifting and empowering youths, Emprezz challenged the students to research the avenues for success. If you want to be a pilot, google successful pilots and read their stories, find out how they got there and use their lives as your map to success. The Representative from the NCYD Keitho Nembhard also encouraged the students to actively protest against the lack of accessible educational opportunities in Jamaica. He urged them to be the change they want to see, and in the spirit of Youth Month to “Reset di Ting.”
After the students were given words of encouragement from the Talk Up Yout Economic Advisors Sherry Perrier and Aaron Ramsey, as well baskets from National Baking Company and Help Stickers, Manchester High School’s Theatre Group entertained everyone present with a Drama Piece and Dub Poem, bringing another successful day to a close.
Quote of the Day: “A people without industry and commerce will perish.” Marcus Garvey
WHO CAN GUESS THE PARISH OF THE FINAL STOP OF THE TALK UP YOUT SCHOOL TOUR???
Written by Kristeena Monteith
Talk Up Yout
The television show's Season 6 is will be on Television Jamaica in is currently brought to you by National Baking Company.