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IN THE CANDID CORNER: Bulls and bachelors

Matthew Farley

IN THE CANDID CORNER: Bulls and bachelors

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I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. – Abraham Lincoln
May 17, 2014, was an historic day in the life of my family. It was the third occasion that I had the distinct pleasure of seeing another of my offspring walk across the platform to receive the scroll that evidenced their successful completion of the course of study of their choice.
In 2010, as parents we winged our way to Acadia University in Nova Scotia in Canada to celebrate with our first daughter Maachelle, who studied music. Today she has established herself as an effective and competent piano instructor and mentor who launched her music academy Piano Is Life at the Frank Collymore Hall in January this year.
In 2012, we travelled to the University of Central Florida, United States, to witness CARIFTA medallist Karessa, who is now pursuing graduate studies in health promotion and physical education at Missouri State, receive her Bachelor’s degree.
On this occasion, our third daughter Richelle, who attended Vauxhall Primary, where I taught, and Christ Church Girls’ like her siblings, and later Christ Church Foundation, graduated from Kansas State University with two Bachelor of Science degrees in public health nutrition and dietetics from the College of Human Ecology.
This was the culmination of five years of rigorous and focused studies commencing at NAIT in Alberta Canada, continuing at Cowley Community College in Arkansas, Kansas, United States, and ending at the Kansas State University of Agriculture and Applied Sciences. Karessa had received an athletic scholarship originally to the University of Iowa and Richelle left Barbados on a basketball scholarship. Both of them successfully juggled years of vigorous athletics and academics across the United States to various NCAA Division 1 championships.
All three of the girls now have their eyes set on completing their Master’s programmes over the next few years or so. We congratulate them for their disciplined approach and for all the sacrifices which characterised their lives so far. Most of all, we give God thanks for His blessings on their lives.
This third encounter of a pleasant kind took place against an interesting backdrop. The entire family had the distinct pleasure of meeting Dr Michael Dikeman (PhD) and his lovely wife Earline, who was a chemistry major at the Nazarene University in Springfield Missouri before moving to Kansas State University to pursue her graduate studies.
Her husband was inducted into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame in 2013 after his retirement from Kansas State University, where he was Professor of Meat Science and taught 13 different courses to over 9 000 undergraduates and dozens of graduate students. Mike, as he is affectionately called, won two K-State research scholarship awards, and nine college, national and regional awards. He is currently working on the second edition of the Encyclopedia Of Meat Science.
Mike and Earline Dikeman live on a 160-acre farm just off Lake Elbo Road about five minutes drive from the university. It was also a canine pleasure to have met their amazing dog, Sugar. She is a sheep dog that we witnessed rounding up over 60 head of cattle in less than five minutes as Mike served them an evening snack of cow candy.
We also met one of their three bulls, whose name is “Double Down”. For while his cows are bred through artificial insemination and embryo transfer methods, the three bulls do the “clean-up” work in cases where there is no impregnation. Mike is one of four original breeders of a brand of bull sold at what is called the “Gold Bullion” sale. It is dubbed as “the brand for integrity, performance and excellence”. These breeders use the old philosophy: “The quality goes in before the brand goes on.”
While for me their cool weather was cold, their hospitality had a warmth of a tropical kind that glued us together as if we had known one another for years. To them we remain indebted for being one of Richelle’s families away from home. It is advised that when our students travel on scholarship to foreign lands, linking up with local families is the best way to cope with the rigours of international student status and to deal with the transition issues involved. We also thank Jim and Betty Johnson, whom she called her family.
Richelle’s graduation was special in that the entire family was there together and it came after the miraculous restoration of our marriage. So until our beautiful daughters meet their eligible bachelors in waiting, and complete their Master’s quests, we congratulate them and publicly express our immense pride in their achievements.
• Matthew Farley is a secondary school principal, chairman of the National Forum on Education and a social commentator.