Attitude of success
This was the lesson taught to the 2013 graduating class at the St. Giles Primary School. Addressing the students at the Solidarity House, Harmony Hall, St. Michael yesterday, featured speaker Vincent Yearwood warned that when they arrived at their respective schools next term, they will encounter new teachers, friends, subjects and challenges but they should not despair.
Narrating the story of Wilma Rudolph, Yearwood said if she could achieve her goals, they too could once they had a positive attitude. Rudolph was the 20th of 22 children born into a poor family. As a child she was afflicted by measles, mumps, scarlet fever, chicken pox and double pneumonia.
Because of racial segregation she did not get proper treatment for these ilnesses and when she contracted polio her condition deteriorate, resulting in her leg being deformed. Doctors told her she would never be able to walk, but with an attitude of success, on September 7, 1960 at the Rome Olympics Games she went on to create history by becoming the first American woman to win three gold medals.
“What do you think was the primary reason for Wilma’s success and great accomplishments against all the odds?” he asked the 77 graduates.
He said it was because she and her parents demonstrated the right attitude to work hard and perseverance.
“Do not wait for ideal conditions. Do not wait for the perfect time to start building on your dreams. External conditions will never be ideal. Conditions in the new environment into which you are proceeding will not always suit you and what you have been accustomed to experiencing,” Yearwood advised.
“You have to make do and deal with what you have in front of you. You must remember that in school, as in life, there are and will be rivalries, jealousies and injustices. The world is not fair, and justice does not usually prevail, but you must endeavour to succeed nevertheless.
“If the rewards and results do not come when you believe they are due, remember that God is watching. His justice will one day prevail. Just keep on doing your best,” he advised.
“Wilma could have held a pity party…, it’s all about attitude. With the right attitude, human beings can move mountains. With the wrong attitude they can be crushed by the smallest of grains. Do not allow put-downs or set backs to derail your dreams.
“So think big and dream big. Set high goals for yourselves. Any fulfilment is subject to your courage and discipline to act on your dreams and materialise them into concrete actions.
“Your parents, the friends of your parents, your current teachers, your guardians and well wishers all pray fervently that your journey on the highway of life will be successful, that you will blaze new trails, that the road ahead will lead you to many summits and that each new height will stir in you a striving for the horizons beyond; that you will dare to dream as Wilma did and not be distracted by the sights along the way.
He also encouraged them: “On a daily basis, plan your schedule… Fill every minute with 60 seconds of meaningful action. Don’t waste or kill time — sail a chartered course and do not drift in the wind and the waves. Be proactive. Don’t just react to things as they come. Do not let others lead you by the nose. Do not count on luck — luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. You have to put in the effort to get good results.”
All of the students who sat this year’s Barbados Secondary School Entrance Examination were allocated places in public secondary schools. In his report, Acting Principal Leslie Gamble disclosed they performed outstandingly well in the exam: 18 achieved