‘Preserve Wickham’s legacy’
THE IMPORTANCE of language has been driven home to five of the country’s latest literary scholars.
This year’s winners of the annual John “Senator” Wickham Scholarship, which is offered to students at the Barbados Community College (BCC) by the Nation Publishing Company in the name of the late editor and literary great, were told they had a duty to preserve the standards set by Wickham.
In his first public engagement since assuming the role of Editor-in-Chief at the NATION last month, Roy Morris said yesterday that one of the challenges was dealing with the new kind of student, whose approach seemed to be “learn only as much English as is necessary to get me where I need to go”, and not learning the language for what it was and enjoying it.
“Part of what we need to recognize is that there is a long road ahead and a lot of it is the uphill portion of the journey. We have to find a way to ensure that our students today are taught how to appreciate the language from the beginning of the process,” he said.
Morris read sections of articles from Wickham to show students to what they must aspire.
“My charge to you young scholars is to do whatever you can to preserve this approach to writing, to make sure that we don’t reach the stage where pedestrian becomes the norm . . . . That the younger ones who come up have something to emulate . . . . If you’re able to do that, the legacy of John Wickham, I believe, will be preserved,” Morris told the scholars as he congratulated them.
Principal of the BCC Dr Gladstone Best said their task as educators was to teach their charges how to learn and how to equip themselves with the tools for life.
He told the young writers that their craft was improved by reading, and encouraged them to uphold the standards of the English language. He also urged them to ensure their colleagues did not get caught up with the “text language”.
Wickham’s daughter, Fran, encouraged the five young women to keep practising their craft and researching. Noting that there were several avenues like film, movies and books for their work, Fran told the scholars they could develop that skill into something that could earn them a living.
The five young women who achieved a grade point average of 3.75 or above to qualify for the scholarship are: Thea Holder, Janeil Odle, who is blind, Jelissa Edwards, Ashlee Griffith and Che-Dawn Springer. (YB)