GOOD NEWS It’s brilliant that a fourth-form class of 33 students at Wolmer’s Girls’ School could sit CXC Mathematics and hammer it to the tune of 33 distinctions. This accomplishment speaks volumes about the aptitude and attitude of the girls, the work of their teacher and the learning environment provided at the school. A closer look reveals good news for sport. Five of those 33 bright sparks represent Wolmer’s in sport. This quintet includes national Under-17 goalkeeper Oneilia Yearde, three track and field hopefuls and the other is part of the traditionally strong Wolmer’s volleyball group. Their success flies in the face of the conventional wisdom that asserts that academics and sport don’t mix. We’ve all heard the stories about sportsmen who needed help to complete their travel documents, capable only of a barely legible scribble for a signature. I haven’t heard those tales in years. The Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), the governing body for high school sport and the teachers in our schools deserve a lot of credit. Years ago, ISSA instituted a minimum academic performance eligibility rule. This statute sets out to ensure that student-athletes have to make an effort in the classroom as well as on the field of play. Recently, I witnessed a teacher handing out assignments to members of a Manning Cup team after a match. She issued a word of encouragement to each recipient and reminded all of the due date for completion. That type of care and diligence for our student-sports is very valuable. The teacher of the Wolmer’s 33 is Lance McFarlane, a Boys and Girls’ Championships medal-winning sprint hurdler and 400-metre runner for Kingston College (KC) in 1999 and 2000. Teacher McFarlane represents another piece of good news. Though his days as an active athlete are long gone, he is excelling in the classroom. With his help, those 33 young ladies have put CXC mathematics behind them. Now they can tackle fifth form with a lighter course load and with the confidence that they can do well at whatever they choose. He also is a symbol of a productive life for retired sportsmen and women. Retirement comes sooner, for some like McFarlane, or later for luminaries like the incomparable Usain Bolt, but it comes nevertheless. If they pursue their new lives with the energy they showed as athletes, they can be successful. Some may walk away as Bolt plans to do next year as global brands, with the world at their feet. Others may test the waters in business before they retire like super sprinter Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Whatever the course of action, all must carefully map the way forward for the rest of their lives. For now, let’s all hail Yearde and her fellow student-athletes in that stellar group of 33 at Wolmer’s Girl’s. Along with their teacher, they represent bright hope for the future. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at trackside since 1980.
Share16TweetShareEmail16 SharesDetail of the “All of Mankind” mural / Erin NekervisDecember 21, 2015; DNAinfo Chicago#williamwalker #mural #chicago #publicart #publicartchi #allofmankindA photo posted by @seriouspleasures on Sep 26, 2015 at 11:54am PDTLast week, when in the Northside Stranger’s Home Missionary Baptist Church in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood in Chicago painted over its historic mural with no notice, there was understandably an outcry from the public. Many saw the mural as a staple in the community and within greater Chicago. The mural was painted by one of Chicago’s first muralists in 1972 in the midst of a social revolution. Since then, the “All of Mankind” mural has symbolized peace and unity between different religions and backgrounds while also including the names of people who were killed in terrible ways, like Malcolm X, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Jr., among others.According to Jon Pounds, emeritus executive director of the Chicago Public Art Group, which fought for years to save the mural, it was painted over in light of the property’s new owner deciding to convert the church into a home. Indeed, the mural’s fate was tied to the fate of the Cabrini-Green church, which put the property up for sale five years ago having lost much of its congregation in the changing neighborhood. Once a haven for the poverty-stricken, the Cabrini-Green neighborhood now houses a more affluent crowd. With the changing needs of its community, the church fell on hard times.The response to the loss of the mural has been nothing short of heartbreak—and, for others, hostility. “I said, ‘Holy cow!’” said Reverend Randall Blakey, part of the Chicago Public Art Group. “It was a sad feeling—for the legacy of William Walker, for the potential of the Near North neighborhood. And it was a sad day for the contribution that this church had made to the Near North Side for years.”“I feel bitterness and sadness,” said Pounds. “The bitterness I feel is not precisely for the decision or action, or decision of someone to make money from an investment, but the bitterness is that we don’t have enough of a social conscience that we can’t anticipate the value of reflecting on this more. There wasn’t a more accessible ability to preserve this as an element of Cabrini-Green, as an element of our contemporary life.”Ingeborg Kohler, 74, created the “All of Mankind” Coalition seven years ago to help preserve the mural she calls a “masterpiece.”“It was a teaching piece. Not only for adults, but specifically for kids. It was a value [that kids] could check out all of the names and events and do research on them,” she said.In response to the backlash to the decision, those who ran the church had only this to say: Where were you five years ago, when the church needed you? Annie Thomas, the daughter of the founding pastor of the church expressed little sympathy for those outraged about the loss of the mural. “Nobody could help, and now they want to know why it’s gone,” said Thomas.According to Thomas, painting over the museum was “completely the church’s decision.” The church had considered other options, such as moving it entirely or repair it, doing so was always too costly. None of the prospective buyers of the property were willing to repair or move the mural themselves.“Believe me, we can’t afford to even pay our monthly bills,” Thomas said. “This place is raggedy, old, and it’s falling apart.”The Chicago Public Art Group and other concerned individuals wanted to take on the responsibility of the church and convert it into a community center, but couldn’t afford the $1.7 million asking price to buy the property. Despite their good intentions, the immediate needs of the church and the need to pay off its debts prompted the decision to sell.“I think it was a ploy to hurry up and sell the property,” said Chicago alderman Walter Burnett. “I understand the family wanted their money, but it would’ve been better to speak with the community about it. That mural means a lot to a lot of people.”—Shafaq HasanShare16TweetShareEmail16 Shares