At the tender age of nine, 62-year-old Dr. Allan Somersall received permission from his headmaster to solicit sponsorship and organize a successful track and field meet in his native St. Kitts.
Two years later, he started his own newspaper – Spotlight – after being dissatisfied with the local publication.
The physician and author shared these achievements during his keynote presentation at the Ghanaian Presbyterian Church’s Black History Month celebration last Saturday night.
“I tell you about those accomplishments not merely to impress you,” he told the gathering. “I hate standing on the sidelines or sitting in the bleachers as a spectator. Far too many of us are walking around just observing.
“Our society is filled with spectators living their lives vicariously. At a very early age, I wanted to be the star of the show and I wanted to be at centre field. That’s the way I think people should live their lives without being content to just watch others perform for them. You can be your own superstar.”
An outspoken advocate for supplemental and lifestyle medicine and the author of 10 books, Somersall offered steps which he said could assist individuals in becoming active participants instead of idle bystanders.
“You have to know your game, learn the rules, get your game, go to the park, find a coach, practice, study the stars, focus your attention, find a team and play to win,” he said.
Posters featuring the first Canadian-born Black judge, George Carter, traditional Ghanaian ruler Nana Kwarteng Boateng II, Concerned Citizens and Friends of Sierra Leone member Abdulrahaman Bundu, Black Business & Professional Association president Pauline Christian and Scotiabank Caribbean Professional Network president Karlyn Percil, were presented for community service.
The recipients included St. Marguerite D’Youville Catholic Secondary School Grade 10 student Eric Opoku-Acheampong, Grade 11 student Andy Agyepong-Ntra and Canadian Association of Black Journalists member Sasha-Ann Simons who completed one-year of post-secondary studies in Mass Media Communications at Georgia State University before returning home to enrol at Ryerson, where she’s in her final year.
Awards were also presented to Ryerson University business student Nancy Stevens, Teen Reading Advisory Circle member Marie-Pascale Poku, Toronto Police Service human resources analyst Danielle Dowdy, Youth Assisting Youth program volunteer Chelsea Osei, Royal Travel and Cargo chief executive officer Kwame Agyeman, dental surgeon Dr. Matin La-Kumi, Rev. Peter Acheampong, hairstylist and designer Felicia Botchway, educator Nana Adwoa Bamfowaa, Mimac Glaze plant manager Lawrence Addo, community worker Mavis Addo, Canadian Food Inspection Agency employee Edris Gunter and psychiatrist/clinician Femi Adeite.
CBC News Toronto co-host Dwight Drummond and CKLN 88.1 FM broadcaster U-Sheak Koroma co-hosted the program that included performances by the Nutifafa Afrikan Performance Ensemble and the Ghanaian Presbyterian Youth Choir.