Excellence by thought
Alleyne students urged to be positive
The students of the Alleyne School were reminded this morning that excellence begins in your mind with just a thought. These words came from the featured speaker at the school’s speech day and prize giving ceremony, Desirée Gibson, and were certainly in keeping with the theme Achieving Exellence Is Only A Thought Away.
Gibson, a former student and the current human resources manager at the Sandals Resort, challenged the students to change the way they think. She encouraged the power of positive thinking, which would “surely lead to positive results”.
“Creating a mindset of excellence is the first necessary step to everything,” she advised. “It can either limit your potential, or control your self-esteem. The way you think influences your self-esteem, your confidence and your creativity.”
Gibson also shared four tips for achieving excellence. First of all the students were informed that they had control over their thoughts. They needed to be constantly aware of what they were thinking –– especially the negative thoughts.
Secondly, students should “expect awesome and amazing things to happen to [them]”. Gibson stressed that in order for excellence to be achieved, you must want it to happen, because it did not happen automatically or accidentally. Fighting fear was pivotal for excellence, she said.
Next, Gibson advised that the students spend time with motivated, inspiring and positive people who would provide encouragement and support when needed. People who were surrounded by those kinds of friends tended to be able to bounce back quicker, she suggested.
Finally, Gibson reiterated the need to think excellence.
“You are excellent because you have greatness and excellence in you,” she stressed.
The students were encouraged to dispel fear as it was an enemy of excellence.
She then left them with some statements of affirmation, which the entire assembly repeated including: “I can succeed”, “I can work hard”, “I made a mistake but I am not a mistake”, and “I am important enough”.
Gibson was then joined by a section of the choir for a renditon of the popular gospel song I Know Who I Am, after which she recited some of the lyrics from Katy Perry’s hit Roar, encouraging the students to take the words to heart.
Alleyne School principal Julia Beckles, in her remarks, praised the staff, parents and guardians for keeping the students focussed and grounded, and contributing to their success. Beckles, the first appointed female principal of the school, shared that she had a vision of the school being the “most disciplined in Barbados with a high performance culture in which students are socially developed and the weakest among them is able to leave school having attained at least five subjects at CSEC or five at CVQ”.
Beckles also made mention of the Principal’s Good Deed Award, an initiative birthed from her vision for the school. It it awarded to students who excel non-academically or in the area of sports; and named two students who were already recipients.
In the area of academics, the principal was pleased to announce that EDPM, food and nurtition, home management, music, technical drawing, theatre arts, woods, and metals all received 100 per cent passes. However, the results for geography, French, Spanish, biology, chemistry and Electronics –– areas that usually register good results –– were not satisfactory. Beckles noted that investigations had begun to change these results by next year.
Parents were urged to motivate their children after they chose their subjects for CSEC in order to ease the burden that was placed on teachers to ensure that students handed in their assignments on time. Parents were also told to remind their children about the importance of gaining CSEC certificates, especially due to the competitive nature of the current job market.
Beckles thanked the alumni and other well-wishers for their donations and ended by congratulating all the prize winners.
Special donations were made by former teacher and recent recipient of the Silver Crown Of Merit, Kathy Harper-Hall, who donated 70 chairs on behalf of the alumni, and parent Baldwyn Haynes who donated a framed picture of the school band to the principal and band director Gary Goodridge.
Special mention must be made of John Sampson, who was named Sports Personality Of The Year and received the Carol Bourne Trophy for good all-round performance in academics, sports and practical areas. Katelyn Bryan received the Cyril Thompson Memorial Prize for best CXC results, and was also awarded the Canadian Alumni Scholarship.
The McDonald Smith Memorial Prize for leadership went to Cody Jones, who also received the prize for Most Disciplined And Exemplary Student, a prize for outstanding CXC results and a subject prize for theatre arts.