Wolmer's footballers excel at juggling sport, academics

By Sports Desk October 05, 2020
Members of Wolmer's Boys' School Manning Cup football team and officials stand together during a function celebrating their success in the CSEC examinations. They are (from left) Trevin Nairne (manager), Denzil Smith, Tana Gray (Jhavier Lynch's mother), Dwayne Allen, Jhavier Lynch, Ronaldo Thoms, Delano Robinson, Rivaldo Mitchell (captain), Kevar Martin, Dandre Miller, Orlando Russell, Ryon Foster (old boy sponsor).    Members of Wolmer's Boys' School Manning Cup football team and officials stand together during a function celebrating their success in the CSEC examinations. They are (from left) Trevin Nairne (manager), Denzil Smith, Tana Gray (Jhavier Lynch's mother), Dwayne Allen, Jhavier Lynch, Ronaldo Thoms, Delano Robinson, Rivaldo Mitchell (captain), Kevar Martin, Dandre Miller, Orlando Russell, Ryon Foster (old boy sponsor).

Wolmer’s Boys’ School’s Manning Cup football players have matched outstanding performances on the field with solid academic achievements in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations, with 11 members of the team getting six subjects or more, and one player five, in the 2020 sitting.

In recognition of their success, the student athletes and team officials celebrated in a relaxed atmosphere, where they noted the importance of balancing the books with play, highlighting the strong support received at the institution.

Trevin Nairne, the team’s manager and former Wolmer’s Boys’ Manning Cup player, who received a full scholarship to study in the United States, expressed his pride.

“I am very impressed with this group - 11 boys passing six subjects and more. Wolmer's has always been an institution which stresses excellence in all aspects of the student's life. We are renowned for this kind of performance and the principal and teachers continue to reinforce and encourage this culture of excellence,” Nairne said.

“They were within touching distance of winning the Manning Cup, losing on penalties in the semi-finals, and then performing excellently in the CSEC exams but their performance in the CSEC far trumps the exploits on the field.”

Ryan Foster, an old boy sponsor, said: "The performance of the boys is really commendable. The management team is extremely proud of their accomplishments and we will continue to support them along their journey of life. It was hard work from the team to ensure that these boys were not only prepared physically for the football season, but also mentally for their exams.

“We supported with extra classes, exam fees, nutrition, school fees and just general motivation and encouragement. We not only want to see them excel on the field of play, but we have built up a general bond with all, they are family."

Goalkeeper Denzil Smith, who passed seven of eight subjects, said the team’s management “played a great role”, also by facilitating extra classes for fifth formers and SAT sessions for sixth formers.

“It is very important (academic achievement) because we attend Wolmer’s Boys’ School and we have to keep it as high as possible. Also, I want to get a scholarship to go to a college in the US. So my manager always tells all of us to ‘do your best so that you can get a scholarship to go overseas’,” he added:

The goalie, who also got picked on Jamaica’s U15, then U17 teams, got a peek at professional football with trial in Spain.

“It was a tremendous experience,” said Smith. “The most important lesson I learnt was to make sure you are always early, always be on time.”

Rivaldo Mitchell, the team’s captain and Jamaica’s U17 vice-captain, has “dreams to actually play in the English Premier League”, noting that he got his leadership skills from his father, Jermaine, “because growing up I’ve always seen him leading, I’ve never seen him following anybody before”.

He scored 14 goals in the Manning Cup and also plays for Portmore United Football Club in the local Premier League.  Mitchell passed six CSEC subjects.

“It’s very important for athletes to do good in academics because it also helps them during the course of life. You never know what can happen. You can develop a bad injury and you don’t want to fall back off everything and all the work that you did while you were young, so it’s really important to have an academic background behind your sports.”

Commenting on team management, the skipper said: “They always target the mental side of the players, always show us and let us understand why we need to do our schoolwork. That motivated all the players on the team to get their subjects and to try and do well in school.”

Wolmer’s Boys’ presented a culture change, possibly life-changer, for striker Orlando Russell, who transferred from Donald Quarrie High into fourth form and scored 11 goals while providing nine assists last Manning Cup season.

“It took some time to fit in. I sat out one year and observed and realised what I should do and could not do,” said Russell. “Everything is different; attitude to school work, you know that you can’t be late for class, you’ve to always be in class, everything is just different. Going to Wolmer’s taught me a lot. In school you have the teachers helping you, so you have to know how to balance the work, and after school you do the extra work and then you get back to the field.

“I feel very excited because leaving from a lower performing school to a higher performing school and doing very good I’m so proud of myself and I’ve made my mother and my family proud. I’m very happy right now,” expressed Russell, who earned five passes.

Sixteen-year-old Jhavier Lynch earned seven grade ones - in Mathematics, English ‘A’, Social Studies, Technical Drawing, Information Technology, Principles Of Accounts, Principles Of Business, plus a Grade three in Physics.

“I feel elated with my achievement, knowing that I came to the school with a good GSAT average. It’s good knowing that I followed through with CSEC and obtained good grades,” said Lynch.

“It was a very different procedure, with the whole pandemic and everything. But with the guidance of teachers, school, coaches, everybody, they did what they could to make the process easy. The management, during the football season, they were very flexible with me going to extra classes. So I would leave training, go to classes and if we had camps for matches, they would allow me to go to class and come back and sleep with the team,” Lynch pointed out.

“They encouraged us to study all the time, not to be late with our assignments, always be ahead because we always had to do more with missing classes for matches and stuff like that. They always promoted going ahead and doing what we needed, building good relationships with our teachers, so they could also make the process easier for us.”

Technical Director of the football programme, Rudolph Speid, commended the players.

"The boys did well on and off the field, said Speid. “This group of boys has not only shown resilience on the field, but great focus and determination to excel in their exams. Well done." 



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