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Youth commended for turning his life around

Youth commended for turning his life around


He may not have been the valedictorian, but 18-year-old Lenford Foster was considered a big winner at the 2012 graduation ceremony of the Bethel High School.{{more}}

Foster, a resident of Redemption Sharpes, was hailed for the remarkable rotation he made in his social and academic life, after turning his back on a less than desirable lifestyle, and embracing positive living and Christianity.

During the ceremony, which took place on Tuesday, and saw 82 of his peers exit the halls of the school for the final time, Foster made an unscheduled stop at the podium, where he thanked the teaching staff, friends, family and well-wishers, for the encouragement he received throughout his transition.

Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT after the ceremony, the soft spoken young man disclosed that he was not always of the disposition that he now exhibited.

He said that he was part of a gang culture that had become a part of the school.

“I am not a bad person in my community, but through going to school and linking up with friends, and getting in fights with other groups in school… it was not a good thing.

“But there comes a time when I really sit down and analyze, and look at my lifestyle and the decisions that I made and realize that I wasn’t living towards my goals….

“If I was to continue down that road that I used to go, I might not have been graduating, so I was giving thanks for the words of encouragement that helped me to be strong and motivated me to move on.”

Foster’s goal is to make up for not passing the Common Entrance Examination. He also hopes to earn a living as a professional footballer. The school’s 2012 male sports personality hopes to get noticed by an international football scout, and being a member of the national under-20 squad puts him in line for that acknowledgement.

In his spare time, he does some mentoring of his own, coaching young ‘ballers’ at the ball ground, not too far from where he lives, an act that has garnered him the respect of the youngsters and adults alike in the community.

At the time of his graduation, Foster was the standing President of the school’s Student Council, a position he said he relished.

“As the president, when … teachers are not in the class, I would walk around and talk (to fellow students), so some of them started respecting me and made changes. And that is when I see myself as an example too.”

At CSEC, Foster wrote six subjects (English A, Mathematics, Social Studies, Physical Education, Electronic Document Preparation and Management and Integrated Science), and while he hopes to pass them all, he is optimistic about PE, because of his love for sports, and his desire to be a PE teacher.

Apart from his sports award, he received an award for English A and Perseverance.

Admitting that he still faces challenges, the youngster said that he is working on that in his life, and things are slowly coming back to normal at the school.

“I realize being a Christian as a young person it ain’t easy… it doesn’t mean I don’t slip and slide, so I have to fight real hard…. But as I read the Bible, I know that he that waits upon the Lord, he will renew their strength and seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness….

“I could remember there was a fight in the school and that there was like twenty something fights after that. But now everything is good. Boys and girls good. Teachers and students good. It don’t have much gang members in the school; if you see a group of girls or boys now, it’s more of the boys trying to lime the girls,” he joked.

Foster pointed out that, like his supporters, he is proud of the changes he has made in his life, and is encouraging others to do the right thing and follow suit.(JJ)