Jamaican students hone leadership skills


They are 15-year-olds with clearly defined goals and said they were extremely honoured to be representing their schools and Jamaica at last week’s Emerging Global Leaders Program (EGLP) at York University.

Rodje Malcolm of Ardenne High School, Ashley Campbell of Knox College, Jahmall Bernard of Kingston College and Jermaine Campbell of Calabar High School joined 39 southern Ontario and Toronto area Grade 11 students in the three-day program that is designed to instruct and enrich promising students in a hands-on and experiential setting while preparing them for a lifetime of leadership.

The program offers young people an opportunity to explore critical concepts and skills in successful leadership in Canadian and international contexts with special emphasis on cross-cultural communication and team building. It also helps students grasp an understanding of the most important concepts in career planning and reflect on their strengths and areas of growth.

“There is a good mix of schools represented and this is a great opportunity for the young people to learn from each other,” said former Ontario government minister, Mary Anne Chambers, who addressed the participants last Friday, reminding them that the present and future are in their hands.

“When you think about it, our kids are getting a lot more opportunities and exposure to learning and role models. I hope they realize how fortunate they are and the onus is now for them to go back into their schools and communities and share what they have experienced here.”

Malcolm, who has a passion for advocacy and aspires to be lawyer, planned to use the retreat to interact with students from other cultural backgrounds and acquire skills that would enable him to successfully fulfill his role as a leader and global citizen.

“I believe that a global leader should be someone who is fully knowledgeable about issues concerning the environment and one who is selfless and committed to improving the quality of life for all,” said Malcolm, who is the president of his school’s photography club and a member of the debating society.

Ashley Campbell intends to become a pediatrician, Jermaine Campbell (no relation) has his sights set on being one of the Caribbean’s foremost scientists and Bernard’s career goal is be a gynecologist.

“I count myself very fortunate to be chosen to represent my school,” Bernard said. “I have accomplished several awards and received praise for academic excellence. I have good organizational and leadership skills and I intend to use this program to learn more about what it takes to be a strong and effective leader.”

Bernard comes from a school with a tradition of producing prominent citizens and leaders. They include Harvard University graduate, Dr. Lloyd Demetrius; Ontario Court judge, Eric Lindsay; former West Indies fast bowler-turned commentator, Michael Holding; the late Black Business & Professional Association president, Dwight Whylie and world-class athlete-turned dental surgeon, Dr. Lennox Miller.

Knox College teacher, Alexander Bourne, accompanied the students.

Beginning a decade ago, York University has offered the EGLP for outstanding international, exchange and local students. To be eligible, students are assessed on the extent and quality of their demonstrated leadership capacity based on their community involvement, extra-curricular activities and response on the application form. The participants are then engaged by speakers representing different areas in the public and private sectors on the changing contexts, concepts and challenges of leadership in a global environment.

The Canadian Bureau of International Education program recognized the EGLP seven years ago with the Outstanding Program in International Education award.

Students representing C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute, Westview Centennial Secondary School, R. H. King Academy and Earl Haig Secondary School also participated in the program.

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