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REPORT

The year February 27th, 2002 to March 26, 2003 marked significant changes in the outlook of the Kingston College Old Boys Association.

Many of these changes were reflected in the “President’s Corner” section of our newsletter. However the more significant among them were the public relations push and the attempt of membership enlargement and the need for financial healthiness.

At the same time there was and is the need for a paradigm shift in how we engage the other formal bodies of the Kingston College family network. It was realized that if the other areas are not carrying out their respective functions then the lag created would hinder us from performing as well as we should. Historically our modus was to shore up the weak areas in the school, the teaching staff was in charge of the students in the classroom and old boys would give support to extra-curricular activities and to assist in funding requested projects.

Now, what we find is a greater need to finance projects, to help with capital development and maintenance of property. With this changing situation therefore, we are neutralised if, for example, the Board and/or Administration do not create the plans, the blueprint for our operation. To go ahead and identify tasks which do not fit in the mental plan of the school would be tantamount to acting ultra vires. We see where this type of non-harmonisation led in part to the resignation of our 1st. Vice President.

The way forward is still hinged on how we evolve co-operation and commonality of purpose with all concerned.

The membership drive was the main area of emphasis following the passing of the resolution to increase membership dues from $100 to $1000. At the end of the first year since the resolution was passed we have only 42 paid-up members. This in itself tells a story albeit other avenues have been explored to reach out to old boys in the wider society. The significant point though is that for the period under review we would have collected $42,000 more for dues than any other year from dues. If the membership base can be improved then funding would be in place to cover administrative expenses and to finance minor projects. A head start if ever there was one.

One of the weaknesses of our Administration is that many claim not to know what to do. To this end the newsletter was expanded to report on more activities. However not all can be expressed but suffice it to say our role in the Douglas Forrest building, the last paving of the Tennis Court and Basketball Court, the retaining work for the broken roadway, and the reclaiming of the middle changing room, all readily come to mind.

I had established a merchandising unit to heighten the fund raising capability of the Association and this is gathering momentum and will bear fruit in the very near future.

As living in Jamaica becomes more difficult less and less Old Boys on and off the Executive can find the time to serve. We therefore must cherish those who are active and reduce the negative criticism which turns off the few.

THE SUMMIT:
Our second annual Summit was held over 3 days at the FDR Resorts. It was a success with Jamaica, Atlanta, Miami and New York being represented. A comprehensive report from the Summit Chairman in on the net. However each Chapter was mandated to give special attention to specific areas.

PUBLIC RELATIONS:
The Public Relations Committee is the most active Committee of the Association, meeting regularly on Mondays at the school, in the Old Boys room. Under the able leadership of Ronnie Chin, it has a reliable cadre of members in Courtney Josephs, Lloyd Bennett, Richard Bowen and Fitzroy Smith. The quality of the newsletters has improved along with the contents offered now covering 6 pages. The added features in the President’s Corner, a Passion for Excellence, an updated sports section and acknowledgements.

A part of the Committee’s function is to give visibility to the Association’s efforts. It has pioneered the health fair and photo opportunities can be seen in our newsletter with contributions to the development trust, meetings with the governor- general, prime minister and the lord bishop featuring. The Health Fair was put on in conjunction with Victoria Mutual Building Society.

MERCHANDISING:
The business of merchandising was placed under the public relations committee because of the vibrancy of that “group.” Richard Bowen was asked to move the
process one step further by being appointed Marketing Officer with responsibility for engaging Corporate Jamaica through sponsorship, special programmes, and new initiatives.

A licence plate holder was launched to twin with the bumper stickers. Subsequently we have identified and ordered cups, pennants, bandanas, beer openers, key rings and an official K.C.O.B.A. shirts as memorabilia and for the Association. This will be followed by large items such as umbrellas, spring jackets, towels etc. We view it as very exciting and believe that it is the vehicle which will improve our financial status and complementing our fund raisers.

NEW INITIATIVE:
Victoria Mutual has come on board with a programme working in tandem with our membership’s registration drive. It has developed a data base of Old Boys who attend our functions and has invited them to become members of the Association. A number of Ads calling old boys to join up with return address sections in these Ads have been appearing in the Gleaner.

On becoming paid-up members you receive a bumper sticker and licence plate holder, plus a gift account is opened for you at VMBS from which it is hoped part of the principal or interest can be made payable to the Association.

A booth was set up at the Gibson Relays this year and will be followed up at the championships next week, where KC old boys can register. This move drew applause and envy as the association was on display at Gibson promoting K.C. VMBS has opened a gift account in the KCOB name with $20,000 and has contributed to the Health Fair, and $12,500 to the Football Programme for starters.

A new product aiming to earn funds for the Association, was launched recently and will appear in the press. This product is the Fortis Insurance Scheme to be handled by I.C.W.I.. owned by Old Boy Dennis Lalor, who with his son Paul Lalor, not an official Old Boy, have etched a plan to move K.C. from a state of mendicancy.

The plan is to have paid-up members presented with a membership card which entitles them to be a part of the Fortis Plan. From each premium paid 5% will automatically go to the Association and if fully supported could earn the association millions each year.

Old boys therefore can without taking money out of their pocket will be supporting the school. A grand scheme, I think, which deserves your every support. The plan will be expanded to include associate membership, for wives, families etc to widen the net, and increase the take.

FUND RAISING:
This area needs rebuilding, but we have certain established calendar events. These include the Dinner, Purple Masters and Remember the Days. There is also the idea of a walk-a-thon which has taken an inordinately long time to find fulfillment but is set to take place on May 3.

A function to include and honour our women folk is in the planning stage along with a school leaving fete for 5th & 6th formers both of which are ideas which need flesh.


DINNER:
The dinner was a successful evening netting nearly $260,000 for the Association. The organization is improving and with a better ticket sales strategy the turn out would be more rewarding.

The guest speaker was the Managing Director of National Commercial Bank, Mr Aubyn Hill and two old boys of repute, Adrian Strachan, the Auditor General and Retired judge, Mr. Justice Boyd Carey were honoured. The organisation of the dinner has reached its zenith under chairman, Ken DaCosta.

REMEBER THE DAYS :
This fete which was expected to grow this year had to compete with the world cup which greatly affected the attendance. By 11:00 p.m. patrons were gathered around the T.V. set provided to watch the world cup games. Notwithstanding, we received $35,000 as our take from the event. Life Member, Ruddy Wallace must be recognised for his unfailing effort.

PURPLE MASTERS :
Purple Masters was hastily planned this year because of uncertainty surrounding the venue. A last ditch effort was made to negotiate the continued existence of this fund raiser. A decision was reached that despite the uncertainties and the time constraint, the fete should be kept for continuity’s sake. The hurried organisation produced a sparkling evening which was enjoyed by all. At last report the profit stood at $27,000.

LICENCE PLATE HOLDERS:
1000 Licence Plate Holders were ordered and are being sold at $600 per pair. Sales have gone well and this should add to the visability of K.C.. and the financial position of the Association.

SCHOOL AFFAIRS:
The School Affairs Committee Chairman, Cedric Lazarus became the 2nd Vice President of the Association and in his usual quiet efficient manner kept an eye on the school. School affairs cover a large area and Cedric’s continued presence along with others gave us the feedback necessary to react to the needs of the school.

The monitoring programme has been microsized to deal with some special cases, about 30 students who require one and one monitoring. I have a success case. The form monitoring still lacks the full complement as job demands and time robs us of the personnel needed. We have observed a serious deterioration of the facility for the teaching of science and the condition of the physical area, the equipment, the inventory and the boys being channeled away from that area. We had written to Old Boys, Dr. Arnoldo Ventura and Professor Gerald Lalor to assist in procuring the necessaries through their international connections.

The Association has identified needy students and have paid school fees and exam fees. Also individual old boys have been asked to purchase books, clothing, footwear, eye-glasses etc.

A special programme has been put in placer to identify the student athlete and to work with them through the system. The 4th. Formers need special attention and the Grade Co-ordinator is alert to the idea. Profiles have been drawn up and information sheets provided to assist the teachers. However, a lack of co-operation from some teachers is hampering the progress of the project.

CANTEEN:
The canteen continues to be a profit centre with our intake being approximately
$250,000 annually. At present it is in need of some repair as termites have invaded. There has been an on-going disquiet which needs closer attention with a review of the concession necessary and a proper legal contract worked.

CADET CORPS:
The Association feels a sense of satisfaction in its role of reviving the cadet corps. Barry Miller along with Oscar Derby of the Association have formed a team of emotion and reason compelling the association to continue its donation. A donation of $35,000 close to Inspection assisted us in winning the Ruel Vaz Trophy for the first time in 28 years. We hope the recent donation of $50,000 will see to its retention.

Nonetheless we have moved in three years from a shameful act to a championship and now to a platoon unit with a respectable drum corps. The cadets take pride of place and Barry Miller is a K.C. Old Boy of note. We have also assisted the unit in offsetting costs to send some cadets to Trinidad and Barbados.

RAPPROCHEMENT:
The Strategic Committee led by Oscar Derby has met and has continued its annual rapprochement work with the pillars of the school, namely the Board, the Church, the Administration and the P.T.A.

The Board has been tardy and despite several requests and promises to attend our meeting and the summit, the chairman for one good reason or another has not fulfilled his promises. However our views and concerns are carried by our Board Rep. Ruddy Wallace to Board meetings. Still outstanding is a Development Plan.

The Church, through the Lord Bishop of Jamaica, the Rt. Revd. Albert Reid has met with us and lines of understanding are being developed. The level of representation of Old Boys on the board is still a major concern. We have made it clear that our only mission is to serve the school in a consultative capacity as facilitators, giving recommendations to the Administration.

With regard to the Administration the Summit felt we should move to address our position with the teachers, given the history from Cohen’s time it was felt that a new face would help to remove perceptions, hence Professor Rainford Wilks, a man steeped in academia could gain their attention best. His report has been circulate electronically. I have noted the comments made and wish that the Old Boy transgressors be named so we can restrain them. Also I am fearful that the particular (if it was really so) was transferred to the general. However there were worthy recommendations which we should follow up; after all K.C. will be greater with all our combined efforts.


SPORTS COMMITTEE:

The Committee met only twice and for an area where Old Boys have contributed tremendously this area must be more represented. In fact I believe that each Old Boy should be a paid-up member of the Association and should forge a relationship with the school through the Association. This would give us sanctioning rights and better control whilst preserving the name of K.C.O.B.A.

With regards to the matter of lack of visibility of Old Boys, the Coaches, Mentors, Schools Challenge Leaders, Cadet Trainers, Choir Master, Key Club Leader indicate our presence. If you put a value to this aspect of our contribution then you could not help but see us. In my case I have been coaching free at K.C. since 1978 unbroken some 25 years. Let’s say that at present value coaches charge $36,000 per month for 7 months of the year. Help me with the calculation.

TRACK FIELD:
Champs has been the biggest sporting spectacle on the high school calendar and so it is central to every K.C. boy. The fact that we have won for the past two years has put K.C. at the forefront once again, what with the three successive Jamaica Centenary scholarships in the same time frame. We are about to reclaim our No. 1 status and plans must be put in place to continue this run. It will require constant new thinking and added personnel. Once again we congratulate the coaching staff and ask that strong areas are strengthened and weak areas shored up.

FOOTBALL:
We lost five key players, three to injuries, one to weak performance in 6th form, and one who had 6 CXC subjects but was asked to repeat 5th form. Incidentally 90% of our footballers who did CXC got 4 or more subjects.

We started shakily but ended up winning our zone beating Jonathon Grant and Trench Town, and were losing finalist in the Walker Cup going down 1 - 0 to Charlie Smith in a final played at the Arnett Gardens complex.

TABLE TENNIS:
We defended our title but this year the Association had to furnish the team with gears. We need to take care of the minor sports.

CRICKET:
For the first time in 20 years we did not make the semi final round in the “Sunlight” competition but won the under 16 colts competition which augurs well for the future. So far this year we are presently in the sunlight and we are playing to reach the final of the colts.

Mr. Roy McLean a special K.C. person is acknowledged for his dedication and excellence and every effort must be made to see to our financial obligations. The matter must be cleared up now.

SWIMMING:
The sport has grown over the last two years. We have continued to give financial support regarding the rental of a pool, purchasing gears and providing lunches at meets.

Terry Hamilton, Mother of Wonder-Boy, Brad Hamilton, through the PTA has worked handsomely in this area. We were third the last time around to the dismay of many.

BASKETBALL:
Coach Meikle has started a programme to revive our fortunes in Basketball. At the Summit I spoke to the representative from Atlanta soliciting support. He got in touch with the coach and they were in receipt of two backboards, balls and footwear.

LAWN TENNIS:
The school seems to have lost interest in this area despite the efforts of Ronnie Chin. Churchill Neita is working to get a coach and to work and to work out remunerations. We had the successful renewal of the Douglas Forrest Tennis Classic by Ronnie Chin and his committee.

RUGBY:
This area is a disgrace, I have been to matches where you can’t make out which team is K.C. the kaleidoscope confuses. With the number of boys in the school and our age old philosophy of a sound mind in a healthy body plus the fact that universities are asking for extra curricular activities, sports like volleyball and badminton must be added. After we have rounded physical education graduates on staff.

TRUST FUND:
The Trust continues its growth reaching near $11 million. The umbilical cord with the Association is cut and I hope that the child is not wandering afar off not recognising its parents. I still feel that the interest should be carefully used to assist some areas in the school where funding is scarce so we don’t have to be begging the same people every year for help. The leadership of Pat McIntosh, Bernard Channer, Ruddy Wallace among others have been examples of detailed reporting and manifest stewardship.

RESIGNATION:
We lost the services of the luminous Churchill Neita, 1st Vice President through resignation. Although resigning his post Churchill’s commitment to K.C. is unflagging and not because of his initials, K.C. Neita, he is still KC’s Neita. He continues his work in the development of the project for a canteen facility at Melbourne having collected over ½ million. He is also committed to assisting with the re-establishment of a library at north street and his personal welfare programme conducted through his office. Churchill, the door is still open and we look forward to the resumption of your association.

FINALE :
We have lost some stalwarts in the last year and I am asking us to use their life’s examples to propel us to further service.

We are at the cross roads where people are questioning our relevance and therefore need to tighten our aspirations to quantify our support to the school. Projects must be found and completed and it seems we have to blow our trumpet. It is clear that our interaction with the teaching staff is priority and we should use the occasion of a new headmaster to hasten the process.

The weakness of our association is the lack of commitment of many old boys to the association; those who are not paid-up members, those who do not come to our fund raising activities or support any programmes. Gentlemen, the Association is all of us, we are only willing servants who await others to join and replace us. Over the past year we have set the stage with our membership programme and our public relations merchandising scheme. If these areas are supported we will see the full value of Kingston College old boys association, your vehicle for continuity.

Fortis Cadere Cedere Non Potest.

 


 

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