St. George's College
Part 3 of 4
The Donovan Chen See Story
Joseph & Donovan Chen See
My Son to St. George’s College
are some facts about Joseph…
Questions to son Joseph…
a) Do you like going to STGC?
I really like going to STGC so far. I like it mainly because it is more
just going to school to sit in a classroom. It is about meeting
and making friends. People there are funny and mischievous. I get a lot
b) What do you like most?
the students can be so funny and play around outside, but in class they
completely different and serious.
c) What do you like least?
of the teachers are very strict.
d) If you had a choice now, would you go to another school instead?
I would never want to go to any other school other than STGC. I wouldn’t
I’m already used to the school and the people, how they react, and
what they do.
If I ever had to change schools, I would be uncomfortable. For many
reasons, I like it here.
a) He scored 91% in the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), which we know
b) Presently member of the STGC Table Tennis Team.
c) STGC requires that each student chooses one extra-curricular
and one sport (table tennis).
question frequently asked of me, and my wife Stephanie, is how could we
“today’s Jamaica”, ever consider and even choose to send our son to an
City School” like St George’s College. The fact is that today, STGC is
Inner City School! Yes we educate students from the surrounding
we serve and that’s good, for it’s that mixture with the more urban
middle class that allows for a unique blend and the opportunity for a
meaningful educational experience for the young students there.
experiences as a student at STGC were predominantly good, and
memorable. Our College was a good training ground for future life.
still is, especially if your child may end up living in Jamaica. We were
respect, doing things to the greater glory of God (AMDG), doing things
best of one’s ability, for good or for bad! Above all, the College
represented a true sample of Jamaica…we lived first hand our country’s
Out of many One People. Most of us speak with great pride and fond
being Jamaican and growing up in Jamaica.
Joseph to STGC was one of the most difficult decisions we have had to
parents. It was too important for sentiment to be a factor.
what existed at STGC during my years (1971-1976) still exists today. The
difference is that at that time, our school was on a downhill slide.
is on an upswing- thanks to the tremendous effort put out by principals Dr.
Fred Kennedy and his successor Mrs. Margaret Campbell.
Stephanie and me, the areas that count most…Academic excellence, School
leadership, Catholic values, campus safety, sports, extra-curricular
which includes community outreach projects and the respect for good old
Jamaican values are paramount, and they are all here at St. George’s
have not yet regretted our decision.
our children (who all presently live in Jamaica) to be exposed to, and
appreciate the Jamaican childhood experience. Joseph, his younger
Benjamin, and older sister Shannon (who attends Immaculate), will have
time to discover the greater world and North American life during their
University years, as their parents did.
AMDG…Donovan Chen See (class of 1976)
Donovan spent 17 unbroken years (1990-2007) working at STGC… 3 chairing
Emmet Park Restoration Committee; 14 on the Board of Management
as Vice Chairman (1999-2007), and everything else that came with the
Donovan and his family are very involved with Monsignor Michael Lewis
Stella Maris catholic community. He is one of the school’s strongest
as have been many of his family. Family members that attended
Donovan Chen See; Uncles, Nigel Chen See, Douglas Chen See, Desmond Chen
David Weller; Hall of Famer, Bill Tenn, Arthur Tenn, Andrew Tenn; Grand
Alex Chen See, Patrick Chen See, Valentine Chung, Maurice Tenn; Rhodes
Lawerence Tenn, Alfred Tenn, Trevor Tenn.
need more old boys like this in Jamaica and overseas to believe
in the school and step up to the plate for the alma mater.
At Stella Maris, Joseph receiving communion from Eucharistic Minister
Photo courtesy of Carl Chang
Another Jamaican Leaving a Mark on Canadian Society
Immaculate Conception “old
girl”, she is
hard worker, working 16 hours a day at times, scheduling training
recruiting teachers, arranging for competitions to take place, meeting
school teachers, principals and School Board officials, negotiating with
potential sponsors and funders, and also helping out in the classrooms. Ilsa
Abraham is the principal and co-founder of Join the Dance (Canada),
which begun in 2006. I knew her as Larry Wong way back when we
together in Jamaica, along with her five St.GC brothers, Anton,
Joseph & Neil. JTD is a private, not-for-profit organization
is to shape character development in Canadian youth through innovative
January 2006, after learning of ballroom extraordinaire Pierre
efforts in helping thousands of New York’s inner city youth regain a
self-respect, pride and elegance through the internationally acclaimed
Ballroom documentary and Take the Lead starring Antonio
was sold on his program. A highly committed community advocate, Ilsa
forces with co-founder, Bob Rutherford, retired Vice Principal,
establish JTD and in early 2007, they became the first official
for Dancing Classrooms in Canada. Dancing Classrooms™ is an
week – 20 session Character Education program that utilizes the
team work of ballroom dance to transform lives and change attitudes in
participants, and which benefits extend out into the broader school
and to its families.
Diversity in action in the tango
Young dancing couples
result of their hard work, JTD now boasts a dedicated and diverse team
specialized Teaching Artists who co-facilitate with regular Classroom
to offer this unique academic enrichment each year, to several thousand
between the ages of 10 – 14 years old. By the end of Academic Year
its third year of operation, JTD expects to have served close to 12,000
in over 300 classrooms and 130 schools. The program is fully
endorsed by the
Toronto District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School
the Model Schools for Inner Cities. The Dufferin Peel Catholic District
Board recently came on board and is seeking to expand the program to
of its elementary schools.
Initially skeptical, I stood in awe in the classroom to which Ilsa was
finally to convince me to visit. I was mesmerized even more when I
the culminating Grand Trophy event last year. As the young dancers
strut their stuff and performed the Rumba, Merengue, the very
and Waltz, the Foxtrot, and Swing. I was struck by their extraordinary
elegance, pride, and yes, the total camaraderie even as they competed
vengeance for gold, silver, and bronze medals, and the stunning Palais
hand, I have heard more than one school principal speak to the profound
on their students academically, socially, and above all in transforming
attitudes and behaviours resulting in “bullies” becoming “leaders”
help others not only in the dance, but across the rest of their school
well, they said that the program often has served to improve the
between a child and his/her family members. Because for homework, the
are required to practice dance steps, and in many cases, have bonded
closely with parents and siblings who became their home-dance-partners.
The whole class
Ontario’s Lt. Governor and his wife were the Honorary Patrons at the
Fundraising Gala held in January 2008. They have also visited the
schools, as have various members of local government, major corporate
and high profile media.
decided to join Ilsa’s team last year, and have enjoyed every moment of
with her, and the team. Ilsa is proof that Jamaicans have a lot to offer
Canadian society in more than one way. JTD and their participating
urgently need community support to help sustain and expand the program
benefit of many more thousands of children, especially in our neediest
to take this opportunity to urge all our fellow Jamaicans to visit the
website at www.jointhedance.com, and to come out in support at
various published events in the future. For more information contact
Ilsa at 905
837-7795, OR email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You many also
contact me at 416-712-4242.
fifth form class
SEE”, said a boisterous Carl Chang, as we motored in to
the airport on January 28th. “It’s tomorrow”, he continued, and we have
and give him support. Then he showed me the copy of an Email invitation
to the Jamaica old boys from a Jason Dear. I had come for Archbishop
celebration of Life Events, the following week.
planning my itinerary for the week.
had organized these mentorship sessions for a fifth form class, whose
would be out into the real world in a few months. What then for them?
bright sunny Friday morning Carl and I arrived; did a brief school
,meeting with the principal Margaret Campbell, and chatted with
Craig Jervis, soccer coach Bertis Bell, and school
counselor Cameka Hazel, who had selected what we were told a
class for Jason’s session.
few minutes to calm them down” said the young energetic Jason Dear,
came out and ushered Carl and myself in.
one break the ice? “Where do the dunces usually sit “I
asked, and the loud
response ‘‘in the back sir’’ came back at us, and Carl and I raced to
of the class to take our seats.
that did the trick- it gave us acceptance and entry into the group and
able to rap and participate in a meaningful exchange of aspirations and
guided by an energetic Jason Dear.
organized well from the session before. Each student was told to come
to discuss their future plans after leaving 5th form. Jason, drawing on
leadership skills, was obviously not there to lecture but to extract
student some dream, some future goal and in this he was very successful,
animated youngsters, gesticulated, laughed -Yes but ourpoured
wonderfully at the
same time. Jason ruled no idea as ridiculous or pipe dreaming and
and gave guidance on sources of help, including the network of old boys.
emphasized the importance of planning.
I were given our turn, with Carl reaching back to his own student days;
all to give back to the school and not wait as long as he did after
start. They seemed a bit puzzled that first of all I had graduated way
years ago, came all the way from Canada and had come to spend an hour
They were noisy eager participants, which I told the guidance counselor
the same as when we were in school.
Vernon, Carl Chang, Jason Dear, Margaret Campbell, Neville (Bertis)
career aspiration in particular struck me. This young man wanted to go
business to make lots of money; many wanted to go into their own
what struck me in this case was his real motive for this and that was
to go into politics. Why business then?, because he didn’t want to
politics to make money but to be independent before so he could
not be unduly
influenced- WOW !.
Robbie Vernon, Jason Dear & fifth former.
Photo courtesy of Carl Chang
mentorship experience with Jason was the highlight of my Jamaica trip. I
gained far more out of this experience than my meager participation
was tremendously impressed by his initiative and drive. I hope more old
will support him. There is real value in this; the boys need this
continued on with the programme and in February took the class on a
field trip to the Jamaica Stock Exchange. There they learned about
the market to create wealth. He was showing them this career opportunity
it had worked for him. There they learned too how to behave in a
Jason speak for himself , I quote ‘‘I hate to keep stressing this,
but before I
met these boys, I was told that they were the worst behaving boys but I
report to Mrs. Campbell, that once again the boys behaved so well and I
them every time that I am VERY PROUD of them. Again, these boys
just need a little encouragement, focus and guidance. When I look at
them I see
myself all over again.
I had parents who gave me their all.”
thank God they had you giving of your time for them.
Jason Dear is an Equity Trading Manager of First Global Financial
Services Limited, an arm of the Grace Kennedy group. Like most of us he
earn a living; he has a boss to report to. He is a busy man and his time
money and is precious. We hope other old boys will emulate his efforts
of their time as well and join him in these initiatives or start their
Message From The Principal
Old Boys and Friends of St. George’s College,
did well in the All Together Sing competition.
Unfortunately, success in
the competition is based largely on votes from the public and we were
late in the competition. Their performances however were of such a
standard that we continue to receive requests for them to perform at
February 26 we celebrated Jamaica Day and it was an event that as
teacher described “It’s the first in a long time that I have felt so
The day was a wonderful focus on Jamaican culture, food and
and staff members dressed in Jamaican colours and bandana, sampled
dishes, were entertained by a storyteller and addressed by Dr.
Cooper. A concert topped off the day.
So much is happening here at the College that testifies to the blessing
Almighty God, that it is difficult to capture it all in a short article.
Once again through the efforts of our Manning Cup Team coached by Neville
Bell, managed by Lennox Robinson and supported by a number of
generous old boys we have retained the Manning Cup and the Olivier
our under 19 and under 16 teams performed exceptionally well in the ISSA
Basketball competition again this year making it to the finals and on
2010 our under 16 team became All Island Champions. We now turn
to our track and field students who performed well at the recent Gibson
and continue with their preparation for the upcoming ISSA/Grace Boys and
students placed fourth in the island in two subject areas in the CSEC
examinations this year. Charles Frost placed fourth in
Owen Fisher placed fourth in Economics. Both students are now
in sixth form
and continue to excel.
continue to work on correcting some of the deferred maintenance on the
assisted by liaison Carl Chang. His assistance has been
well as the support of all those who have contributed in this area.
Happy students celebrating Jamaica Day
student leaders in the sixth form led by Head Boy Craig-Anthony
pooled their effort with the student leaders from Immaculate Conception
School to raise fund for the Haiti Relief Project. Our students
$80,000 toward assisting our brothers and sisters in need which was
Food For the Poor. We are heartened by their efforts for our
brothers and sisters in Haiti which demonstrates that in many ways we
achieving our goal of shaping men and women for others.
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you all as we continue to work together in the development of our