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JEFF BROOMES: You can make it if you try


JEFF BROOMES: You can make it if you try

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CITIZENS OF THE United States of America often refer to their home as the land of opportunity. They bring a plethora of examples to support the oft repeated claims of a rags to riches story. These claims are well substantiated; but we can be equally proud of our Barbados.

As a teacher, I have been blessed and privileged to be able to experience such a move, an actual transformation in many of my former students. Today, I wish to present the first of two features on such individuals who have brought me immense pleasure as they climbed.

I remember Angela Jones as a mouthy young student from Checker Hall who entered St Lucy Secondary School in 1984. She was just an average student; some said she lacked focus, but she had identifiable sports talent.

She represented the school in almost every area and then earned selection to the junior national netball team. To this day, she accepts her struggles and gives full commendation to principal Darryl Jordan, Harriet Waithe and her many teachers.

Angela’s life had its first awakening moment when her beloved and supportive grandmother died in 1992. As she recalls it, almost in prophetic appreciation, her gran, in her dying breath advised her to go to America where things would get better for her. This she did after graduating in that same year.

She did all within her power to make her gran’s words come true. She enrolled in junior college, married and started a career. She knew that nothing fell out of the sky and if something good is to happen it must be planned and earned.

Her second challenge came when her husband divorced her, leaving this struggling young lady with two young daughters, a four-year-old and a two-month old. She did not throw up her hand and beg for help. Quitting was never part of her DNA.

She accepted the challenge and chose to be a warrior for her two young children as she knew her grandmother would want her to. This young woman took two jobs (one full-time and one part-time), continued her college studies and accepted all the challenges that confronted a single mom.

In 2009, her third major challenge came. She was involved in three different near fatal accidents, one in which she fell asleep, hit head-on and her vehicle rolled over and landed on its top. Fatigue had caught up with her, but her guardian angel grandmother was a protector. 

Finally, in 2013, she walked across the stage to accept her first degree after what one can only describe as a journey of significant challenge. Her young daughters were there with smiles and satisfaction. This was mommy’s moment, and they knew it.

Angela Jones, this student who kept me up many nights strategising on how to best get across approaches to persuasive writing has since gone on to complete her masters degree in criminal justice and also functions as an adjunct professor at a college.

I honour this student who by hard work has been able to make it. I know those encouraging words from her father about what it means to be a Jones have been ringing in her ears. Not only did she project pride but she also exemplified true Bajan industry in pursuit of her dreams.

Angela Jones now serves in her substantive position as a sergeant in a law enforcement department in Florida, continues her community work as well as her pleasurable responsibility of being a mother. 

In this year of our 50th anniversary, I present Angela Jones as one who knows: “You can make it if you try!” We are proud of you and promote you as an example for students not only at the now Darryl Jordan Secondary but also to all students of this our homeland.

Jeff Broomes is an experienced educator, principal and community organiser who also served as vice president of the BCA and director of the WICB. Email: [email protected]