By RON FANFAIR
In high school, Ewart Walters was a member of Calabar’s Scout troop and the Student Christian Movement. He was also fortunate to have a mentor who was his scout master, cricket coach, drama tutor and History and English teacher.
“When you combine scouting, Christianity and nurturing in that sort of way, you get something of the kind of product that Calabar said it wanted to put out,” said the 1958 graduate and Ottawa resident who was honoured by the Calabar Old Boys Association (Canada chapter) at its 15th annual fall brunch in Mississauga.
“The other thing that Calabar did was take a special interest in students who were not necessarily academically bright. It said we want to put out the rounded product, somebody who is good at many things and not necessarily brilliant at one particular thing. I think I am such a product because I played cricket and soccer, I was on the swimming and track teams, I performed in drama festivals and I was a member of the Sixth Form association.
“Calabar was a boys’ school and I was in a boys’ boarding school. So I got the opportunity to associate with not only boys from other schools, but also girls of other schools at the level when you are about to be launched into the world of work. That was a fantastic opportunity and a good rounding off for us.”
Walters worked in the media in Jamaica before coming to Canada in 1964 on a scholarship to pursue Journalism at Carleton University where he became the first Black editor of the weekly student newspaper, The Carleton, which was renamed The Charlatan in 1971.
For six years, he was a member of Jamaica’s diplomatic service – in Ottawa as Counselor and in New York as Consul with responsibilities for the Embassy to the United Nations – before launching The Spectrum newspaper in August 1984 which gave Blacks and visible minorities in Ottawa a voice, a face, a credibility and a respect that they were long denied by mainstream media.
Walters also worked for several years as a senior advisor in the office of the president of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and as a senior analyst with Health Canada.
He’s currently putting the finishing touches to his autobiography, To Follow Right, which will be released early next year.
The longtime member of Fourth Baptist Church has authored Sugar Boy which tells the story of Trelawny’s Cedric Titus who played a major role in breaking down mental slavery and building the new Jamaican nation in the early part of the 20th Century.
Last August, the Jamaican government conferred on Walters the Order of Distinction in the rank of commander.
The COBA also honoured Al Young, director of pharmacy operations for Loblaws.
After leaving Calabar, Young attended the College of Arts, Science and Technology (CAST), now the University of Technology (UTECH), and Howard University before coming to Canada 31 years ago.
“Calabar played a key role in moulding me,” said Young. “It also provided me with many lasting relationships that I deeply enjoy and cherish.”
Hip-hop artist Mark Campbell, who recently graduated with a doctorate from the University of Toronto’s department of sociology and equity, was the keynote speaker. He’s the interim executive director of the Nia Centre for the Arts.
In the past three years, the COBA has presented 18 scholarships to Calabar students. President Eugene Chang said the organization plans to refurbish the school’s language laboratory. He also encouraged old boys to consider adopting a school form and becoming mentors.
The alma mater of former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson was founded in 1912 by the Jamaica Baptist Union.