Disclaimer: I am a proud Wolmerian! No school can begin to come close to the admiration and respect I have for THE Wolmer’s Boys’ School, especially Kingston College (KC). However, my affinity for Wolmers’ doesn’t cloud my judgment enough to acknowledge a known truth, that Jamaica is a KC country.
To add a little context, my Father and younger brother went to KC and it was a heartbreaking time in the family, especially for my father, when I decided I wanted to attend Wolmers. After years of my father’s strategic conditioning, having brought me to the North Street and Elleston road campuses for various football matches and events, he was certain I was destined for KC. Ironically, to this day people will assume I was a KC old boy, by virtue of some personality traits I have that are similar to a KC alum (I bet even you thought the same). But alas, the Universe had a greater plan in store for me, hence the transition to Wolmers.
My Father and I are still good (at least, I think he’s gotten over it), but I know for certain he would agree with me saying, Jamaica is a KC country. I don’t make this conclusion based on the school’s successes in Football, Debating and most recently Track & Field and School’s Challenge Quiz. I have always held that view, and after hearing my reasons below, you may be inclined to agree with me too.
Wolmer’s Boys are the respectable bunch i.e. the gentlemen and the nerds, and often times considered the socially and intellectually elite of all prominent all-boys schools in the corporate area. But with all of that under our belt, we are still not a Kingston College. Kingston College has evolved from being just a set of schools in Kingston to a complete value system that most Jamaicans have wholeheartedly bought into. KC is the home of winners and holds a secret formula for producing champions in a variety of ways.
Jamaican culture is one predicated on producing and celebrating champions, and we have a tendency to get emotionally attached to our champions but rigidly detached from our losers. If you’re a Jamaican I want you to think about Asafa Powell before Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell after Usain Bolt, and you’ll begin to see what I’m saying.
We try to win at everything, and we’re very hype about it (even if there is a high chance we might lose). However, this culture of winning transcends competitive sports and can be traced all the way back to our Emancipation from Slavery. We must remember that emancipation was not gifted to us by the Queen for all that hard work. Rather, her hand was forced to free up the State as a result of multiple uprisings from pockets of frustrated slaves who figured out how to beat the planter class. If you notice, each revolt has centered around a person with perceived superhuman traits over their peers, most notably our beloved Nanny of the Maroons and her (alleged) ability to catch incoming bullets with her buttocks.
Subsequently, Nanny and other heroes of the revolution were officially recognized as the National Heroes of Jamaica. And that’s how we’ve been cultured; to passionately celebrate our wins, but also honor and fall in love with our winners. Bob Marley became our King of Reggae because he was able to bring our culture to the wider world and get global acceptance. Usain Bolt became a celebrated sprint legend because of his consistent ability to win over the course of his track and field career. But Bob Marley, Usain Bolt, and KC all have one thing in common besides their ability to win; and that’s their ability to beat white privilege.
White privilege is a global system of ethics, values, and attitudes that inform how a white person will fair in life comparable to a black person. This is why the brown class in Jamaica, being a derivative of white privilege, have been able to hold a monopoly on opportunities for social and economic advancement for so many years.
I think the spirit of KC is a manifestation of the Jamaican struggle to prove that we can rise to the top, and break the ceiling of white privilege. KC’s history is rooted in its commitment to making quality secondary level education available to the poorer class; comparable to other prominent all-boys schools like Wolmer’s, Munro College, St. Georges College and Jamaica College which were reserved for children of the aristocracy or brown class. With the vast majority of Jamaicans currently among the lower class of our society, you can understand why there is this national embrace of a Kingston College.
Noteworthy also, is KC’s commitment to a diverse schooling experience. Unlike other prominent all-boys schools in the corporate area, KC seems to make a concerted effort to recruit boys from all classes of society, especially the lower class. Most importantly, they have an Alumni that invests heavily in the development of these boys year after year, instilling in each graduate a duty to give back to their alma mater. This is not just an act of benevolence on their part, but rather a genuine belief in the awesome potential of the average Jamaican to be turned into a champion.
KC represents the Jamaican struggle to show the world, that despite our social, economic and geographic disadvantages, WE CAN STILL BEAT THEM. Jamaicans want the world to know that we are winners, we’re hype about the fact and we will keep winning if you keep testing us. No other school has been able to consistently connect with this burning desire in the hearts of every Jamaican, in the way that Kingston College has. KC’s ability to position their brand in this way is what has, and will continue to attract talented young men from all over Jamaica who want to be champions.
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