St. George's College
Good & True ...issue# 45...March, 2006
December 9, 1969 is a very important day to me. It is not only my birthday but the first day I met my grandmother, Lucy McPherson. Never has there been such a unique individual whose talent for storytelling far surpasses any I've seen on TV or in the movies. And I've seen a lot, I live in Hollywood!
I remember listening to my grandmother's stories and being mesmerized by her energy and that contagious laugh of hers. Her masterful command of Jamaican patois and her life encounters with unforgettable rural characters, kept my brother and me amused for hours on end. We couldn't help but be transported back to her days as a young girl growing up in the country parts of Jamaica. Her infectious passion as she depicts certain events right down to the distinct voices and mannerisms of those she knew so well is so enjoyable, even the 10th or 12th time. She unknowingly instills a true love of Jamaica and a desire to maintain our culture even though we were uprooted from our homeland so long ago.
Recently, I encouraged my 91 year old Gram to write some of her stories down and I promised to illustrate them as best I could. The result is her first venture into the story-writing realm in the form of Dry Rivah (Dry River). This is a tale of the Mac family, Lucy Mac and her three daughters Matty, Gatty and Datty who live in a little district in Jamaica named Clonmel. Datty Mac, the youngest is a very "walkabout gyal" who always finds herself in all sorts of trouble. In Dry Rivah (Dry River), Datty learns about being truthful, the hard way!
The book is printed in vibrant colours and is written in Jamaican patois. But those who can't read patois like a true "yardie", shouldn't despair. They should just simply flip the book over and read it in English! Kids will love it either way, and will learn to appreciate their West Indian heritage at the same time.
I am so proud of my Gram, the gem of our family, and I hope people will enjoy the magical world of rural life in Jamaica as depicted in "Dry Rivah" as much as I have over my 36 years of knowing her.
Drop me a note for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is an honour to be your grandchild. " Mi love yu cyaan done, Gram!"
Editor's note: Saskia Garel, daughter of old boy Roland Garel and Carole Garel, graduated from York University with a Bachelors in Fine Arts; was a recipient of the prestigious Oscar Peterson Award, and is a two time Juno Award winner.
The Man Who
On March 12th at Our Annual General meeting, there will be the election for the Board of Directors.
Many have served us well and I suspect will stay on. There are, as well, new and youthful faces, some of whom will hopefully step up to the plate to freshen up the board and provide for that torch passing which is a necessary component for continuity and growth.
This, we as an executive have been preparing for, and what an array of youthful talent there is to draw from.
But leadership is key and the one position already spoken for as the candidate was voted in two years ago is the president's job and into that will step on March 12th, our 1st V.P. and president elect Daniel HoLung.
Danny, as he is affectionately known to us, is one of the most dynamic persons to step into that portfolio. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, gained from the hard knocks of life.
In the course my two years as president as we worked together closely, we shared many experiences and got to know each other fairly well. We represented our chapter at many functions and in many instances he deputized for me with great presence and enthusiasm for the school. We visited Miami and the Florida chapter together on the associations behalf and on a personal level, his warm support in my travails with family illness and death early last year made me realize as he often says "been there, done that", that he has, in his relatively short lifespan, run the gamut of human experiences and emerged out of this with the strength of character that makes for great and positive leadership.
The recent passing of his beloved mom opened up for him memories of a distant past when things were not so good and in his wonderful eulogy to her he saw so clearly her strength of character as she forged on alone with four young children after the sudden death of his father. So much of her good traits are in her son.
Danny revealed his struggles at school and his often giving up his lunch money for his younger brother as there was only really enough for one.
His mother’s and father’s business acumen developed quickly in him as he began selling school box lunches (every fifth one free-that's how he ate). He was no push over.
Danny is a successful real estate broker with Quintillion Realty Inc, and at one time sat on the board of Cedarcrest Homes and the Caribbean Chinese Association.
He is cut from the same cloth as his father Thomas HoLung, himself an outstanding Georgian, and with his permission I share a most moving and eloquent tribute to Thomas HoLung by none other than Monsignor Gladstone Wilson, one of the most brilliant persons coming out of St.George's College and indeed Jamaica.
Like father, like son, read on and glimpse the mettle of the man who would be president.
THOMAS HO LUNG
A Tribute by
Monsignor Gladstone Wilson
ON Saturday, the 23rd August last the chill, cold hand of death removed from our midst a be-loved son, a devoted husband, a dutiful father, a sincere Mend, a loyal citizen and a stout defender of the Faith.
Thomas Ho Lung had preceded us in the sign of the Faith and now sleeps in the sleep of peace.
Thomas Ho Lung was an unusual character. He possessed the rare gift of being able to fuse into a harmonious whole the culture-patterns of two worlds. Loyalty to family and respect for elders was one of his outstanding characteristics. But with Tom it was not an attitude born merely of ancient tradition. Rather was it the reasoned conviction of a mind that was ever grasping ceaselessly after truth and perfection.
Thomas Ho Lung recognised fully the truth of the statement that the family was the basis of society, and that as such its foundation must be kept intact and secure. Many a time he would discuss with me the inevitable conflict that must arise between those who accept this fact and those who unthinkingly adhered to the rugged individualism which dominates so much of the Western world in this twentieth century. This is, perhaps, one reason why no one who knew Tom could ever say that he was a selfish person. In fact, in view of the circumstances surrounding his sudden demise, one could well affirm that he gave himself in service.
Different people will remember him for different reasons. His bereaved wife and children and close relatives will cherish his memory because of the ties that bound them together; the members of the Chinese Catholic Action Association will recall his unflagging zeal and constructive ideas; many married couples will remember his ready wit and familiar voice at their wedding reception. And what Wholesaler or Retailer in the Grocery trade in Jamaica did not know him? Pagoda, too, salutes a former contributor and Editor.
But there is one particular aspect of Thomas Ho Lung's life to which I should like to call special attention: an aspect of his life which—apart from his work in the apostolate of the laity — I consider his greatest contribution to the Jamaican community as a whole. I refer to his unstinted efforts to interpret East to West and West to East.
Tom Ho Lung was proud of his racial background and fully conscious of the rich cultural traditions of his ancestors. But Tom Ho Lung would flare up in anger should anyone dare to challenge his right to call himself a Jamaican! Being consciously bi-lingual – and perhaps tri-lingual – he was unostentatiously one of our country’s best ambassadors in spreading the message of national oneness and unity in diversity.
He believed in his country and in its potentialities for development and progress; but he also believed as strongly that in a multi-racial society like ours we should spare no efforts to blend and merge into a new society what is best in the cultural heritage of the various racial streams that go to make up Jamaican citizenry. Catholic in religion, Thomas Ho Lung was also catholic in social outlook.
JUDGED by material standards, Thomas Ho Lung "died a comparatively poor man and a young man, too. But he was rich in merit. The number of mourners who filled the Cathedral for his Requiem end the host of spectators who lined the streets as the cortege slowly wended its lonely way to the Chinese Cemetery on Waltham Park Road gave proof, if proof were needed, that "a great leader had fallen in Israel". And this is another reason why I was so deeply touched as standing in reverent silence with the officiating clergy before the open vault, awaiting the arrival of those who would lift his mortal remains for the last time, I overheard the comment of a spectator by the fence: "This must be the funeral of a Chinese millionaire."
Yes; a millionaire had died! But the riches of Thomas Ho Lung were not of the kind where thieves enter and rust corrode. Thomas Ho Lung was rich in service, in apostolic zeal, in the love of humanity, in Christian charity!
The body of Thomas Ho Lung now lies amoulding in the grave aside the Waltham Park Road; but the principles which Thomas Ho Lung upheld and defended have not died and cannot die. The soul of Thomas Ho Lung has not died and cannot die! Those of us who give everlasting thanks that through no merit of our own we have been made the children of God through Holy Baptism take comfort in the thought that he, like us, has so often lifted up his heart to God, prayed with conviction that "unto Thy faithful, O Lord, life is changed, not taken away; and when this abode of our earthly habitation has been dissolved an eternal dwelling-place has been prepared for us in Heaven."
Requiescat in Pace
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 1958
We are now commencing our Easter Term with continued successes and improvements in student performance. Academic results for fifth form for Term One indicate that we are nearing our targets set out in the Five Year Plan for 2005/06. Our projections are that we will graduate 90% of students enrolled in CXC and that 10% of our students will make the honour roll (80%+ average in all subjects). We have hired a Special Education teacher and have established a special resource department in the library. She and two other teachers are developing a program to assist with all students who are underachieving at each grade level.
Major renovations of facilities have been completed in the First Term. We received a JA million dollar donation from the Old Boys in Fort Lauderdale to assist with repairs to the O'Hare building. The entire block has received termite treatment and all louvres and windows have been replaced, front and back. Winchester Park has been fully re-worked and is now touted as one of the premier football fields in Kingston. The roofs of the Library and the Second Form Building have been replaced due to severe water damage caused by Hurricane Wilma. We are in constant need of funds to maintain and renovate the campus. Our science laboratories are in dire need of renovation.
We have established wireless internet on the campus and all major buildings will soon have connectivity. We have also begun the process of entering all of our student and parent data on a school software management system. By June of this year, a full intranet will be in place by which we will be able to manage all school records electronically.
The Ministry of Education has approved a 4 million dollar grant as part of an e-learning project. We have placed orders for 40 new computers, laptops and multimedia equipment which will be in the school for September 2006.
Our co-curricular and sports program has been restarted with even greater student and teacher involvement. List of our clubs and societies and updated sports news are posted daily on our website, stgc.org. Our School Challenge and Debating Teams have been successful in their first rounds and the Performing Arts (Drama, Dance, Band and Choir) are preparing for entries in Festival 2006.
All of our sports teams are in full swing. U14 and U16 Football are entering at the top of the zone in the second round. We expect top performance from both teams. The U14 are undefeated. All scores are posted on the website. Our U16 and U19 basketball teams are also entering second round (U16 showing very strong performance, undefeated against Wolmers and Tivoli. U19 Grace Shield won their first cricket match of the season against our North Street rivals. The House System is alive and well and competitions are underway for Sports Day, planned for February 03.
Sixth Form is showing outstanding results. Double the number of boys qualified this year from fifth form and we accepted 42 young ladies into the program. They are integrating very well into the life of the school. Gender competition has created a more serious approach to studies and the 200 strong sixth form group is showing examples of strong leadership. We expect very good CAPE exam results this year.
Discipline continues to be good under the superb direction of the Dean of Students, Mr. Michael Davidson SJ The number of suspensions has declined and the boys, who were placed on academic and behavioural probation, are showing improvements this year in their overall conduct.
Staff morale also continues to be good. We have been setting aside professional development days throughout the year and are making preliminary plans for a staff retreat. Grace Kennedy & Co. Ltd. has sponsored management training seminars for all of our middle managers, Heads of Department and Supervisors. The first of three workshops took place in January.
Thank you to all who are contributing to the endowment drive and who assist us on a daily basis. We are constantly in need of both moral and financial help from old boys, parents and community groups. Our immediate needs are setting up new eating areas for the students (our population has increased to 1450); establishing an energy conservation program and raising a special endowment for upgrading of science labs.
We strive for excellence as we continue to do all for His greater glory.
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.
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