The need to read

Tanisa Gibson won the Professor Oliver Headley Ward for excellence in sciences, the Food & Nutrition prize, the Principal’s awards for Best CXC Results, and Best All-Round Student, to name a few.

Today’s students are not reading enough and therefore have problems expressing themselves.

This was the observation of Principal of the Coleridge and Parry School, Vincent Fergusson, as he addressed the school’s speech day this afternoon.

The principal noted that even some who were getting good grades, when it came to expression of ideas, still had challenges which he equated to them not being exposed to enough reading materials.

As a result, he told parents and teachers that they needed to do more for their children and students, respectively.

“A student would get an ‘A’ or ‘B’ and when it came to expression a ‘C’ … and that was coming through in almost every subject. It is clear that our children know the stuff but are unable to express it on the paper and we are starting to work on that right here at Coleridge and Parry,” he said.

Fergusson explained that his observation came from an assessment of the CXC results, in which he said they were seeing improvement, as well as in the classrooms. It was all part of the continuous assessment programme the school had implemented a year ago, the principal said, where students were being given the opportunity to build on their marks from one term to the next.

It also helped in areas such as sharing, cooperation in classes, which were most evident among the fourth year students. While in 2010 and 2011 they were seeing some of the highest pass marks being in the 50s, he said this year the marks were in the 50s, 60s and 70s — a vast improvement.

He encouraged the students to broaden their school experience by also getting involved in extracurricular activities. It was this same advice that would moments later be given by former student and feature address speaker Nicole Alleyne.

Alleyne, who described herself as “just average” in terms of her school academic performance, admitted that she had to repeat third form, but it did not stop her from getting involved in tennis, volleyball, the Junior Achievement progrmme and even cadets, and would later go on to secure jobs in the hotel industry, the medical field and be involved in a number of service clubs.

She told students there were three things they should consider in forming their future — know their worth, get involved and commit to something. Following these three mottos, she said, would lead them to a life of success.

She also had advice for parents — be parents and not friends. There would be time for friendship as their children grew older, she advised, but in their formative years, children needed parenting. (LB)

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