Within the past few weeks some astonishing feats have occurred for the Kingston College campus at Melbourne Park, Kingston, Jamaica. Contributions are coming in for the Bachelor Track and the Spencer Family Gymnasium.
A White South African recently donated US$500 to the Ken Spencer Art Classroom at Melbourne and the widow of 1936-1940 KC Team Member also donated to The Byron Track at Melbourne.
In July of 2016, The Bachelor family raised the challenge to Mr. Myrie the headmaster- that a contribution of US$300,000 or 75% would be made if the parents, friends, old boys, staff, and students contributed the remaining 25%.
Mr. Myrie took up the challenge and rounded up old boys Maurice Weir(Jamaica), Audley Hewett(Florida), and Noel Spencer (NY). The campaign thus started. Our network of supporters rallied to the cry and the campaign began. We are almost there.
The completion of the project is within sight of the finish line.
Mrs. Janice Thompson, widow of KC old boy L. “Fluffy” Thompson heard about the project and called me early January 2017. I paraphrase: “Noel, what a fantastic thing you old boys are doing. Fluffy would be so happy and he would be cheering you on with his heart and his money. I am a widow on a fixed income- I want to be part of this history making adventure. Let Audley and the rest know of the old boys know what I think.”
Mrs. Thompson from her fixed resources – contributed a fairly reasonable sum of money that definitely helped us reach another milestone. On behalf of all the Kingston College family, thank you.
Mrs. Thompson shared these tidbits with me over the past few months on Fluffy’s heroics as a KC athlete at Champs:
1936. L. Thompson Class III Champion at the Annual Boys Champs, in addition winning the 220 yards dash in 27.6 seconds and the 100 yards in 12.1 seconds.
1937-1938. Mrs. Thompson explained in detail how Fluffy was injured for those two years and could not compete. He came back in 1939 to continue his reign at champs.
1939. L. Thompson 2nd in the Boys 100yds Class II. L.B. Thompson 1st in Class II boys 220yds 24.5 seconds. L.B Thompson 2d in the Class II boys long Jump.
Leroy “Fluffy” Thompson was named the 1939 Class II Champion and the “Victor Ludorum” of the 1939 Boys Champs based on the KC team winning the Class II Boys 4 x 110 yards Relay.
Fluffy did not compete in 1940 due to injuries and he regrets the opportunity of running against the great Herb McKinley in future years due the hamstring injuries.
Mrs. Thompson said that Fluffy spoke glowingly about his Champs days to her over the years, and her contribution is in his memory- knowing that not having proper training and running facilities hampered his athletic youth. In his young life Fluffy joined forces with Entertainer Harry Belafonte in Europe during the 1950’s through 1970s. He was also a member of the KC choir.
Mrs. Eileen Hand born in South Africa during the apartheid era experienced what is was like to grow up in disadvantaged areas of the country. She saw the potential of young persons squashed before they could achieved their goals.
Mrs. Hand migrated to Ireland and also experienced the regimes that toured Ireland and wraught hardship on Irish men. Her family migrated to the USA in the 1970’s to escape the viciousness of apartheid and cruelty to mankind.
I was relating my dream for my school in Kingston; both the track and the gymnasium and the art building. The art building/class room had to be rebuilt due to the relocation of the gymnasium. As Mrs. Hand heard the story- she immediately wrote a fairly sizeable check for the refurbishment of the Ken Abendana Art Room.
Mrs. Hand said. “ I have witnessed what it is like for young kids not to have opportunities. I want to be part of this project. Kids should never be left to suffer, and then to wonder why did I not make it later in life.
Mrs. Hand was the President of the Chester Union Free School District for many years. Her boys attended public school and they are all leading a productive life. Currently, Mrs. Hand serves as the Orange County, NY Elections Inspector and works full time as a Census taker for the Federal government.
These are the stories of two women who know first hand how to create opportunity.