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Students Urged to Exploit Opportunities at School

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Students of the José Martí Technical High School have been urged to exploit the opportunities which schools present, to become all they want to be in life.

“The sky is not even the limit,” said Principal Financial Officer at the Ministry of Health, Michael Maragh, who was keynote speaker at the opening of the school’s Career Expo, held on the school grounds in Twickenham Park, St. Catherine, on March 14.

He told the students that they are at the point in their lives when they must ask themselves some critical questions.

“Ask yourself this question, what are you going to do with yourself after you leave José Martí. Reality is going to hit some of you when you go through the iron gate and they say to you, don’t come back,” Mr. Maragh said.

He admonished students who waste time in school and warned about the high cost of tuition for O’Level and A’Level subjects in private institutions.

“It is when your back is against the wall that you’ll realise that all this time you were getting this (education) for free. The most embarrassing thing is that it is the very same teachers [at José Martí] who will be teaching you at the day and evening institutes which offer CXC subjects,” he said.

Citing examples from his own life, the chartered accountant explained that after having finished high school with a pass in only one CXC subject, he was able to move ahead only after deep introspection and the realisation that he had made wrong choices.

Mr. Maragh attributed his passion for motivating students to his fundamental belief that everyone can become anything he or she wants to become in life.

He emphasised that older pupils who have passed CXC examinations have a responsibility to help others become successful. School, he said, should be seen as a haven where spirits are lifted, as many do not get the support at home.

“Some of you don’t get any encouragement from home. They say you won’t come out to anything, and the only place you will hear that you will come out to something is in José Martí. All these teachers do every day is try to encourage students to realise their potential,” he said.

Meanwhile, Head of the Guidance and Counselling Department, Ann Marie McKenzie, told JIS News that the school stages a career day expo annually, inviting institutions to come in and set up booths to provide students with information, “that is going to equip them and empower them to make right and informed decisions.”

She noted that members of the department have a responsibility to students, to ensure that they have first-hand information on what is taking place in the field of career development, “so that when they leave José Martí, they will have not just one choice, but many choices.”

The school received support from 28 organisations, including the Jamaica Information Service, Child Development Agency, HEART Trust/NTA, Registrar General’s Department, University of the West Indies, University of Technology, Caribbean Maritime Institute, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Shortwood Teachers’ College, St. Catherine Parish Library, Royale Computers, Vocational Training and Development Institute, among others.

José Martí Technical High School, opened in 1977, was a gift to Jamaica from the Cuban government. It is named in honour of Cuba’s national hero, José Julián Martí Pérez.

By Andrine Davidson

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