Last Friday, September 16 was a day of rejoicing for the Petit Bordel Secondary School at the formal unveiling of a billboard to recognize an achievement of its students- AJ Delpesche.
The recognition for Delpesche was as a result of his record -breaking feat in the Intermediate High Jump at this year’s Inter- Secondary Schools Athletics Championships.
A part time high jumper and multi – talented sportsman, Delpesche broke a 40- year- old record set by Rohan Saunders of the St Martin’s Secondary School, back in 1982.
Delpesche, thus on April 8 at the Diamond Track Facility, cleared the bar at 1.88m, bettering Saunders’ 1.87m, done at the Arnos Vale Playing Field.
Despite getting his plaudits for his feat via fairly extensive local media coverage, the billboard must be ranked higher.
The gesture of the billboard came from Parliamentary Representative of North Leeward- Carlos James.
Indeed, James, who is also the Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Sustainable Development and Culture, must be commended for his idea and equally, for the hierarchy of the Petit Bordel Secondary School for their buy-in to the suggestion.
Inevitably, there will be some nay- sayers who will chomping vigorously, down -playing the proposition as political.
Whatever was James’ intent, the greater good has been achieved as Delpesche and the institution have been profiled.
Moreover, the erection of the billboard would have undoubtedly engendered pride in Delpesche and his peers alike.
As such, Delpesche has been made a role model for fellow students of the school, and youths in St.Vincent and the Grenadines as a whole.
Placing Delpesche into the spotlight of the North Leeward community will bring some social control on him.
Hopefully, he will not be pressured and be able to live his teenaged life enjoying the niceties, yet maintaining poise.
For those who do not know, Delpesche plays other sports and has achieved some successes in his relatively short tenure thus far.
Apart from his exploits in the High Jump at Inter- School Championships earlier this year, he was selected to represent St Vincent and the Grenadines at the Junior Carifta Games in Jamaica as a member of the 4 x400m team.
Delpesche then attended the Whitsuntide Games in Grenada in June, taking gold in the Under-17 High Jump, silver in the 400m and bronze in the 100m.
Most recently, he was part of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Under-17 football team that contested the Pride of the Caribbean Tournament in Antigua and Barbuda, last month.
To his good, Delpesche is an accomplished cricketer as well, having represented St Vincent and the Grenadines at the Windwards Under-15 level.
But getting back to his recent recognition, the novelty and the will to do such should only break the glass ceiling, as many often do not believe in awarding youngsters with that type of token.
So, the stage is set for the continuation of “ bigging up” our young sportsmen and women.
This may not take the route as the Petit Bordel Secondary School, but it is high time that others follow suit.
For many years persons have been clamouring for our sportsmen and women to have some sort of national spotlight, however that has still to see the light of realization.
Yes, athletes have been placed on postage stamps, made brand ambassadors for companies among other efforts, albeit sporadic and unstructured.
In addition, the dishing out of sporting ambassadors has not held pride of place, simple because of the ad hoc manner in which it is done.
The time is opportune for national associations, community groups and corporate St Vincent and the Grenadines to show faith in our sporting human resources.
Our young population, (those who are worthy and eligible) are yearning to get that spark of acceptance that can drive St Vincent and the Grenadines into that mode of nationalism.
Thanks again to Minister, Carlos James and those associated with the Petit Bordel Secondary School for the foresight to acknowledge one of their own.
This column is hopeful that more of this type of appreciation and commendation be done in the near future, as St Vincent and the Grenadines give aspirations to our youths, as a few are wilting under the burden of social pressure.