The Calabar community was abuzz with activity on Wednesday, September 12, as the school observed its 106th anniversary. To mark Founders' Day this year the school held three events, beginning firstly with the unveiling of the Calabar High School Campus Directory which was the brainchild of students who left Grade 13 earlier this year. These students must be commended for their efforts in conceptualizing and having the Directory erected, as it also required them to work with persons external to Calabar to achieve their objective: an early sign of resolve and willingness to contribute to a better Calabar and by extension a better Jamaica!
Next was a ceremony to award financial scholarships and bursaries to several students. The Academic Scholarship Programme is a collaborative effort between the Calabar Old Boys’ Association’s (COBA) Atlanta and United Kingdom Chapters. The awards totalled approximately $3 million and it was a joy to see so many Old Boys answering the call of Calabar!
Crowning the day’s activities was the Founders' Day Lecture presented by Dr. Ricardo ‘Ricky’ Ford (Class of 1978) who spoke on the topic “Determination of one’s self value and how it fits in today’s global work environment”. The holder of a PhD in Chemistry, Dr. Ford has established himself as a highly respected engineer and businessman in the silicone elastomer industry. For over three decades he has spearheaded numerous engineering design projects, involving the development and delivery of technical solutions that meet the needs of many Fortune 500 companies such as Boeing, Lockheed, Thiokol, Ford and General Motors.
His lecture, which contained several references to his time at Calabar, provoked the minds of the audience and, in several ways, challenged all present to pay attention to the educational foundation and to view the future with optimism, imagination and self-belief. He charged Calabar to lead the way in refashioning an education system which truly empowers and liberates the mind, citing areas in the technology and service industries that are begging for the creativity and perspicacity of Jamaicans. Of course, he could not help but share his passion for high speed racing with a short video that provided snippets of his exciting exploits as a high speed boat racer.
The audience also received greetings from the Nigerian High Commissioner, Her Excellency Janet Omoleegho Olisa who reaffirmed the close bond between Calabar and Nigeria. She also encouraged the school to become more involved in Research & Development, which she essayed is not the preserve of Universities only, and is sorely lacking in many developing countries.
It was truly a memorable day and we must echo the sentiments of our Board Chairman, Karl B. Johnson that Founders' Day should become etched in the minds, and on the calendars, of all Old Boys, as a day for us to reflect on where we are coming from, where we are in the present day, and what our vision for the future should be.
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