Monday, March 30, 2009
Etmour Williams as he addressed the Stella Maris Foundation-HEART/NTA Graduates on March 22
by Jean Lowrie-Chin | from Jamaica Observer column | Monday, March 30, 2009
Neither the JLP MP nor the PNP caretaker showed up for the graduation of 130 students of Information Technology and Early Childhood education at the Stella Maris Church Hall - all roads led to Portland on March 22. The loss was theirs, for they, like those of us present, would have hung on to every word of guest speaker Etmour Williams.
Etmour who? Williams is a 22-year-old Grant's Pen resident who, despite hunger and hardship, is now well employed at All Wrapped Up and halfway through studies for a degree in accounting. "Success is not luck," he told the graduates, "but rather a guarantee if you have a dream, a plan, determination and if you work hard."
He recalls how he used a friend's address on his job applications, "but I decided to stop - I wanted to be true to myself. so at the next interview, I came up with a strategy of how to sell myself and I succeeded." Etmour, a beneficiary of the PROComm Scholarship Fund which supported him at Calabar High, declared, "I am a product of Grant's Pen. Many would say "ghetto", but ghetto for me is a state of mind. I used the negative influences around me to motivate me positively. I dared myself to stand out and be different."
WILLIAMS... I dare you to dream big
Etmour said he chose Calabar because it was "the school that produced the then prime minister (PJ Patterson). I saw it as an inspiration. He succeeded and I knew I could." Do our leaders understand the impact their lives can have on that of a young, struggling child?
"I am a determined young man and I believe that life in the inner city could account for that," confided Etmour, "because after seeing the options available - living or dying - I chose to live, and to live my life to the fullest." To the hearty applause of his colleagues and neighbours, Etmour challenged them: "I dare you to dream big, work toward realising your goal and living your life with a purpose. I dare you."
This brings to over 700 the number of graduates from the Stella Maris Foundation HEART/NTA programme. Eighty-six per cent of them either have been employed or have collaborated to start their own businesses.