Last week I was asked to address students via the virtual Faith and Confidence Ceremony held by the Caribbean Association of Principals of Secondary Schools for students who will write their examinations in the not too distant future.
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It doesn’t matter where you come from, with great focus and determination and the requisite motivation, you can achieve your goals.
“It is achievable if you are prepared to work for it,” Yorke said.
CAPSS has meanwhile noted that the Caribbean Association of Principals of Secondary Schools has a history of over 50 years of pioneering educational initiatives in the Caribbean. It comprises some 14 English-speaking territories throughout the Caribbean Region, from Belize to Guyana. The Association’s flagship event is a Biennial Conference of School Administrators, with the next conference scheduled for Trinidad and Tobago in July 2021.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools were forced to close their doors, which mitigated against providing the usual rites of passage for 110,000 students who will sit examinations this year. To fill this breach, CAPSS noted that it organised the virtual Faith and Confidence Ceremony, “to bless our students as they enter their examination phase with spiritual confidence and purpose, even as they traverse the challenges posed by the pandemic”.
Speaking under the ceremony’s theme, “Today’s Struggle; Tomorrow’s Strength”, Yorke pointed out that it was an honour to have a stadium named after him, as it means that his legacy will live on, long after he is gone. He however told students that his success did not come easy, as he had to work hard, persevere against numerous odds and make many sacrifices,
“It is achievable if you’re prepared to work for it. It was hard work to try and balance everything. At the age of 15, I moved to Trinidad and I went to St Augustine Comprehensive at the time, and the reason I moved to Trinidad was that I was already on the national senior team, so they moved me to Trinidad so that I could balance my school work as well as represent the country.
“We were one point away from qualifying for the 1990 World Cup. So it was achievable if you were prepared to work for it and I was prepared to work, both with my football and my academics at the time.”
According to Yorke, there should be no excuses for youngsters not balancing their academics and sports now, due to the technology at this time.
He said, “I encourage the kids, yes play your sports if you can and if you have any ambition to follow in my footsteps, but it is equally important that your academics are up to par to balance them both because just in case the sports do not work out you make sure you have your qualification going forward.”
Meanwhile, Yorke said he is interested in becoming a manager now and will put out the same determination he had as a player, to become a manager. The 48-year-old said although he has had a few failed attempts at becoming a manager in Europe, he will not give up, saying he will “continue trying and trying until he achieves”.
“It just goes to show you that with great focus and determination, you can succeed, but you have to work hard. The future is very bright for young people today. You can do anything you want to do. It doesn’t matter where you come from. I hope to inspire you to achieve your goals for the future,” Yorke told those gathered.
CAPSS President, Ronald Mootoo, also addressed the students, wishing them well in their exams, whilst the Roman Catholic Bishop of Grenada, Bishop Clyde Harvey, pronounced a blessing on them. President of the Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools (BAPPSS), Juanita Wade, in moving the vote of thanks, encouraged the students to draw from the example of Mr. Yorke, who capitalised on his talent to reach the peak of success. She too encouraged them to work hard and to follow their dreams.