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Ambitious Anthony

Donna Sealy

Ambitious Anthony

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It’s been just over a year that Anthony Alleyne has been the deputy principal of Deighton Griffith Secondary School. It’s been a year filled with teachable moments, laughter, changes and through it all he has remained grounded, calm and relaxed.

“I don’t let the job take over me but I do it to the best of my ability,” he said.

Some people might think that the position of deputy principal is too much for the Bay Primary School and Harrison College alumnus who has only taught at the Kingsland, Christ Church school during his career.

For the 37-year-old – who is the youngest deputy principal at a government secondary school – it is not a job but a chance to change the world.

“I love teaching. I love working with young persons not just teaching but training and development as well.

“I had dreams of  being an engineer at one point but then I shifted towards teaching around 17 to 18. I shifted towards education for sure [because] I wanted to change the world. I had one or two teachers in my secondary [school] life, and in primary school too, who impacted me a lot.

“I see teaching as one of the best areas to impact people and make positive changes so I wanted to go that route.

“Plus I was a Sunday School teacher too and do a lot of stuff  with youth ministry at St Paul’s so it just came naturally,” he said with a smile.

Today, Anthony still holds fast to the belief that he can make a difference in the lives of others and each day he finds a way to do this, one person at a time. It can be through a kind word, deed or steering a child along the right path.

“In our current context when there are so many negative things, sometimes the only ray of hope a child might have is at school with a teacher who may offer them a kind word or smile. I use the phrase ‘teachers are the last line of defence’ in tackling some of society’s issues.

“I have been able to do this to some degree, of course as I said, one child at a time, you can’t save them all. You try as much as possible but the thing is in the effort in showing young persons that there are alternatives out there, that there are better ways to do things and that education has value, that it can carry you places and they should work on bettering themselves,” he said.

The member of the Sunjet Toastmasters Club loves information technology and while he does not spend as much time in the computer lab these days, he cited the 100 per cent pass rate recorded a few years ago in IT at CXC as a great achievement.

“We’re at, give or take, 95 per cent every year now. IT is my subject. We recognised that our children could do better and we set about a programme with that in mind.

“We said ‘we want you all not just to pass but to pass well’. … It was a concerted effort with the members of the department, the IT teachers, and we worked on it year after year. So when we got that [100 per cent passes] it was ‘yes, it paid off’.

“We set our goal towards something, worked together as a team through the years and then you realised it is paying off.

“To me, it showed what is possible once people set their minds on something, planned and worked towards it”.

That team spiritedness has also been utilised in his present role and whereas he might have been inclined to do everything himself given his IT background, he has learnt to delegate some of the tasks and uses “staff  wherever possible wisely”.

“We have a wonderful staff here that’s very talented and skilled and they can do things. So where you have people that can do things, you don’t have to do everything yourself. It is impossible to do everything yourself,” he said.

Anthony’s varied courses of study also help him.

“I did my bachelor’s in computer science, then I did the diploma in Education, the master’s in education while in between there I did a Certified Systems Administrator (Microsoft) as well as a certificate in social media for development and teacher training using the internet.

“Bringing  my knowledge of technology, systems analysis

and problem-solving to teaching helps immensely.

“With a computer background you have a natural problem solving mind so when you look at any issues going on in the school you break it down and say these are the two or three best solutions, logically thinking,” he said.

The deputy principal has reached the point in his life where he enjoys each day as it comes. He appreciates people, children laughing, sacrifices made, compassion and not “being so into and full of yourself”.

There have been tough some days particularly during his mum Esther Alleyne’s battle with cancer. She died in 2010 and as he reflected on her life he credits her with teaching him compassion and generosity which he embraces easily and tries to pass on to his children – Tahlia, seven and six-year-old Aaron and he surely will teach 11 month old, Aiden.

He said his dad James Weekes was a stickler for discipline and he recalled with much laughter stories of his childhood during the hour-long interview.

Anthony enjoys being with his family, so on weekends he and his wife Zondeen might take the children to places such as Codrington College, East Coast Road, Bathsheba, Browne’s Beach or to Chefette for ice cream.

He also said that his involvement in St Paul’s Anglican Church has been instrumental in his life.

“I credit St Paul’s heavily with helping me become who I am. For me the church is my family, they’ve helped me get through some challenging times. They’ve also given me opportunities and exposure through experiences that have given me the skills I use up to this day.

“Through the connection with St Paul’s and also the Bayland, it has kept me grounded. I’m from Luke’s Avenue, Royal Palm Tree Place. That upbringing brought a lot of  balance and I think that to this day, the church, the Bayland and my mum and dad brought that balance,” he asserted.

Anthony is chairman of the church’s annual Fiesta committee, a role he will be relinquishing next year after three years at the helm.

“This is our 15th year (April 2015) so I’m really looking forward to it,” he added.

Just what gives him the greatest pleasure?

“The light bulb moment. Seeing something that you’ve been working towards, whatever and wherever it is comes to fruition for the good of others wherever that may be [gives me great pleasure].

“It could be mentoring somebody in Toastmasters, teaching a child at the school, trying to raise your children at home, working with a committee at church trying to get an event or product knowing that the purpose is noble and good and seeing it come to pass and that it’s not only good, but other people benefit from it,” he shared.

Anthony also credits present principal of  Deighton Griffith Secondary Cheryll Moseley, former principals Victor Hutchinson and Aurelia Beckles, and Canon Wayne Issacs for shaping and teaching him.

 “I am eternally grateful to the many people who have helped me during some of the more difficult times in my life and because of this, I feel obligated to do the same for others,” he told EASY Magazine. (GBM)