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Sinkholes, faulty electrical issues won’t stop QRC

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Guest speaker Brian MacFarlane, left, accepts a token from QRC principal, David Simon. PHOTO: SEAN NERO

Queen’s Royal College principal David Simon did not hold back punches at the hosting of the school’s Achievement Day ceremony held at Queen’s Hall in St Ann’s, Port-of-Spain, on October 13, where he expressed his frustration over the tardiness of the authorities in attending to the many ills plaguing the educational institution.

In delivering remarks before the students, faculty and parents, the principal said, “A sinkhole exists in the front of the College. It’s the badge of honour of the still existing plumbing issues; that, and the flickering lights—evidence of electrical problems—will fit in with the celebrative atmosphere of Christmas, as the Botanical Gardens will soon be lit up for the period of merriment...”

Simon continued, “Another generation of Royalians will not see the interior of the hall or even use the bathroom facility set aside for them. Pleas appear to fall on deaf ears. I refuse to think that those who receive these calls do not care. Despite the numerous challenges, the staff of the College plods on and is able to maintain a consistency which is evident in our academic achievements.”

Pointing to the college’s success in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) and CAPE, he said, QRC students continued to excel.

In his review of CSEC results for the 2015-2016 academic year, the school enjoyed an 88.37 per cent pass rate and in 2016-2017 it jumped to 88.68 per cent. Results for CAPE meanwhile stood at 85 per cent for the 2015-2016 term, but dropped one per cent to 84 per cent for 2016-2017.

“We are concerned about the quality of our grades and we are working assiduously at ensuring that the quality of our grades improves, steadily. In this area, we have some work to do. This indeed is one of the major academic goals of the institution—to improve the quality of grades achieved by our young men. The administration remains satisfied, though, at the quality of education provided by the excellent teachers at the institution,” Simon said.

He continued, “Through the many challenges and the associated stress levels, the College prevailed. How were we able to do it? We did it with patience. To be patient, though, is a tough task in this age—the age of instant gratification. Remember, this is the era of iPhones, iPads, instant messaging and Snapchat. It is challenging because as a people, we are losing the art of patience. We are fascinated with the tool of instant gratification.”

The principal made it clear that no matter what infrastructure challenges confronted the students and faculty, what happened at QRC would ensure the educational centre was the home of champions.

Simon also wanted the gathering to explore the concept of teaching students how to fail, in an effort ensure that they were emboldened on their way to the top.

“My thought provoking theme this morning will make sense to you and the young men by the time I am finished. Psychologists and psychiatrists are seeing more and more young people having quarter life crises and more cases of depression are being diagnosed. The reason? An epidemic of over-parenting! In our world, we have come to define success as: ‘the avoidance of failure at all costs.’ This is what we are passing on to our children,” he said.

Simon continued, “This generation seems to lack the executive function required to make it on their own. Many students are incapable of looking people in their faces with confidence, do not interact with their teachers, and when in crises, they text mom and dad (mostly mom) before advocating for themselves. Many of us are guilty of ‘over-parenting’. We have become ‘helicopter parents’ who want to protect our children at all costs. In our mistaken definition of success, we have embraced this notion that we must protect our children from all harm, including—heaven forbid—the slim possibility that they might fail.”

 He called on adults to take a step back and allow children to make mistakes from which they could recover. Not allowing them to stumble and fail, by always shielding them from temporary pains, he believed, would turn children into permanent quitters.

“We must always remember that without struggle, there can never be progress. Our children need to go through embarrassing moments, so they can develop the gift of empathy. When we allow our kids to act for themselves—with you drawing up boundaries and giving guidance and love along the way—they will develop the confidence and compassion that they need to be successful adults,” said Simon.


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