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.
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