That missing strong alumni factor
St Vincent and the Grenadines, unlike other countries in the region, has not placed that much attention on having strong alumni.
This is not to say that such set-ups are non-existent here, but there are not as prominent as they ought to.
Yes, there are a few functioning (but not all vibrant) past students associations, whose roles are basically to help raise funds to assist their former educational institutions.
Likewise, some former students will see it fit to give back to their former school.
Whilst this is so, not enough is being done in the area of sports.
We here, seem to have been hooked on the notion that only tangible contributions are recognised.
This notion has become entrenched that other efforts are slighted or ignored totally.
Do you know that many of our schools are loaded with students who are adept at various sporting disciplines, but their talents are not maximised because there are no personnel within the institutions to harness those abilities?
Do you know that for this same reason schools do not participate in certain sporting disciplines?
On the contrary, there are many past students who are either certified in coaching. or have the passion, but they are out of the loop.
And, this is rather unfortunate, as some schools have produced a plethora of persons who have excelled in sports, are current sports administrators, but are not giving back.
In addition, there are many persons who are professionals, who can contribute to the sporting stock of their Alma mater.
These persons can be mentors, role models, motivators to those who have sports in the schools as they lifeline.
Unfortunately, it is no fault of those coaches or persons with that willingness, as the system sometimes is so rigid, that only the personnel from within the various institutions are seen as the ones equipped to provide that technical support.
Too, there is resistance coming from the assigned physical education teachers, who sometimes “hog” the show, thus repelling any external expertise.
We are however faced with some innate challenges that may have given rise to persons not having that sense of pride, commitment and responsibility of ensuring that they are identified with those educational institutions which helped to shape them.
Day after day, our schools are crying out and pleading for that scaffolding structure to solidify their sporting assets, namely, the young sportsmen and women.
Strong alumni can be the answer, as once well constituted and active, we can see a move in the other direction, as that missing support ingredient would be present.
Before that is done though, there must be a change in self, as past students must possess a sense of belonging.
We sometimes speak glowingly of what takes place in other countries, and how important their alumni are to the schools’ progress and identity.
Do you know that it is the alumni of some institutions which have taken hold of the sports programmes, helped to fund them and provide that extra push?
St Vincent and the Grenadines may not necessarily have to go the way of others who would have gone over the top, but addressing the sporting needs, such as the way the alumni of Calabar High School provided a synthetic track.
But with a little more effort we can put more emphasis in ensuring that all schools build their alumni.
Sports is too valuable to the human and social capital of St Vincent and the Grenadines, hence, the alumni must play their part in providing that buttress for our student – athletes and the respective educational institutions as a whole.