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The power of one

Monday, June 30, 2014

There are people who only see the negative in everything. They’re called cynics. Once in a blue moon, when I’m talking about the accomplishments of one of my students in YTC, one of those cynics surfaces and says, “But that is just one student you’re talking about.” That statement always baffles me because I went into teaching at YTC thinking that if I could save only one student, I would count that as success.   


Over time, I felt good about that decision of counting success as “just one student” because as Sterling Stewart, the Deputy Commissioner of Prisons once said to me, “Do you know what you do when you help one of these boys? You are actually saving future generations.” Anyway, let me show you what one student means in the scheme of things. Let’s take the young man I called Peter in Wishing for Wings, the book I wrote about my first CXC English Language class at YTC.



One lad asked Peter to come to my first CXC English class five years ago. I really didn’t know if Peter would make it. He couldn’t sit still. He had to move to learn, but that didn’t  deter me from teaching him. Peter received a 2 on the CXC English language exam. If we didn’t have to fast track the class and do the two-year syllabus in less than eight months, I believe he would have received a 1.