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Well done, Mr Farley!

What a week it has been, Shew!

From the CARICOM summit to cricket and football to municipal tax talk, there has certainly been no absence of opportunity for public chatter. But with the exception of the serious concerns levelled about the so called garbage tax, there was certainly more occasion this past seven days for bouquets instead of brickbats.

As the school term came to an end this week, there was also the graduations, on occasion more than we had staff to cover. Still, we did our utmost best to capture these special memories, which carry the most meaning for the parents, teachers and students involved, even if the message was at times redundant and the news value was of a diminishing standard.

As rudimentary as it all became at times, we still enjoyed providing the coverage and highlighting the performances of our students in this year’s Common Entrance Exam.

On the whole, our graduation coverage was very well received by the public but, as expected on these occasions, we simply could not please everyone.

Take for instance this message we got today from a concerned parent, whose name and that of the son have been deliberately left out of our report on the correspondence.

It read: With reference to the news coverage of the . . . Primary School’s graduation ceremony . . . may I please bring an issue to your attention that has caused both myself and my family, especially my son, great upset.

My son … was not only the valedictorian of class 2014, due to him being the overall Top Student, he also received the award for Top Boy, as well as Most Improved Boy in the exams. He was invited up on to the stage about seven times to collect these, and other prizes, and had his photograph taken each time! He also had the honour & duty of delivering the valedictorian speech, which he carried out with confidence [and] for which he received great praise.

“It has been pointed out to me that your news story only briefly mentions him, almost as an afterthought . . . and although the photographs include one of the Top Girl, there wasn’t one of [my son]  as Top Overall Student/Top Boy! With all due respect to [Head Boy] (who truly is a lovely boy), I feel that highlighting him misleads the reader into thinking that he was also ‘Top Boy’, which takes away from the much greater academic success that my son achieved. After-all, isn’t the graduation supposed to be highlighting the students’ (& the school’s) academic success?

My son is understandably upset that his photo wasn’t included, as he was, as many, many people commented on the day, the ‘star’ of the graduation and certainly deserved more than one little mention in lineage.

“I am hoping that you are able to somehow rectify, or make an addition to your news story as you do promise to deliver ‘News You Can Trust’…it does make me wonder if the piece was written by someone who wasn’t actually present at the ceremony – it certainly doesn’t make any direct reference to my son being there! Furthermore, your news story has marred my son’s feeling of celebration after all his determination, hard work and success!”

Our sincerest apology to the parent and the student involved. It was never our intention  to hurt either’s feelings. And yes, our reporters attended and reported faithfully on the ceremony. On account of space though we did exercise editorial judgement on the choice of photograph. Again, we apologise.

With the issue fully ventilated, we wish to use the remaining paragraphs of this editorial to wish the retiring principal of the Graydon Sealy Secondary School, Matthew Farley, happy retirement.

Yesterday, you welcomed us as you generally have throughout your career with open arms on your final day at the school.

The job of teacher, as with that of a journalist ,is often a thankless one in our society.

But over the years you have always stood for principle.

And for that we single you out for commendation today.

Well done Sir, well done! And  thank you for your sterling contribution to the education sector.

Happy retirement!


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