School #11 – Marcus Garvey Technical High School
All-Island Tour Powered by Emprezz, UNICEF, National Baking Company, Purewater & Island Grill
Named after Jamaica’s first National Hero and one of the greatest minds to have ever lived, Marcus Garvey Technical High School is the modern manifestation of a great legacy. The Technical High School has much to be proud of including recent successes in school boy football and a commendable track record in the All Together Sing Competition however when Talk Up Yout visited the school on Tuesday 11th of November, the students were singing another tune.
They spoke about issues such as Pre-Mature Sexual Activity, Teenage Pregnancy, Poor Governance, Delinquent Parents, Juvenile Delinquency, Crime and Violence, Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Infections, Suicide, Unemployment, Smoking, The Influence of the Media and Transactional Sex and expressed very strong emotions, even challenging the traditional opinions on several topics.
The Talk Up Yout School Tour which is powered by Emprezz Golding, UNICEF, National Baking Company, Purewater and Island Grill was accompanied by a representative of the Office of the Children’s Registry, Julia Smiley-Green and the President of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) Steven Golding.
So what do the students of Marcus Garvey Technical High have to say? Firstly, they believe parents in Jamaica are underperforming. Several students spoke of situations they’ve heard of where parents send their young girls out of the home to have sex with older men for money. More shocking was the allegation that some parents force their children to employ skin-lightening techniques such as bleaching, while threatening to “put them out” if they resist.
This issue prompted Mr Golding to read to the students an excerpt of Marcus Garvey’s writings from 1921 chronicling the publication of advertisements for skin-bleaching creams and Garvey’s personal distaste for the practice and his efforts to stymie its proliferation. Regardless of that information one student staunchly defended the practice by asking questions such as “Why do they make bleaching cream, if we are not supposed to bleach? Why do they make Rizla if we are not supposed to smoke?” Mr Golding was obviously concerned with the student’s perception of bleaching and went to great lengths to correct the faulty logic which he was using to justify the action.
That faulty logic revealed itself again throughout the entire discussion, proving the veracity of Mr Golding’s initial statement “Having had the wrong kind of education, the Negro has become his own greatest enemy.” However, the beautiful thing about the students was that they were open to having their views challenged and were able to see reason eventually.
The students openly chastised their political representatives and criticized the lack of youth programs, employment opportunities and educational facilities. They shared stories of their fear of the future as it regards their lives after high school. Once again 95% of the students present were unaware of the existence of the OCR prompting Mrs Smiley-Green to educate the students about all such entities in Jamaica.
It would be accurate to say the theme of the day was “Knowledge is Power” which is an adage the Talk Up Yout School Tour believes wholeheartedly. There was a mutual exchange of knowledge at Marcus Garvey Technical High. The students shared their first-hand knowledge of youth issues and Emprezz and her team shared their expertise and advice on navigating the tumultuous waters of teenage existence. The students thanked Emprezz profusely for the opportunity to talk about their feelings and issues and entreated her to come again soon.
Quote of the Day: “There are factions within society, both in Jamaica and the World at large that wish to keep you ignorant. They want you to stay in the dirt, because when you’re down there killing each other and behaving like animals, you don’t have time or intelligence to notice that they’re enjoying the wealth that could have been yours with education.”
- Steven Golding.
Next Stop: Westwood High School, Trelawny
Written by: Kristeena Monteith for Talk UP Yout
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