Wasted Opportunity by “The Terrible Tout”: Campion Story Deserves More Layers

Posted: June 7, 2016 in Politics/Current affairs, Random me stuff, Uncategorized
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Three days ago I sat satisfying my regular need for social media and saw what I thought would be an article par excellence pop up on my newsfeed from one of the regular social commentators in Jamaica that I respect, even if I don’t always agree with the views he espouses. The article I refer to was published in the Jamaica Gleaner on Sunday June 5, 2016 and is entitled “Why Campion is So Loved and Hated” by Gordon Robinson.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/focus/20160605/gordon-robinson-why-campion-so-loved-and-hated

The topic is very near and dear to me due to my being the proud if sometimes reluctant sibling of a Campion alumna and *whispers* a one-time Campion College aspiring student (prior to divine intervention). This experience has made it more obvious to me than the average joe that Campion College may be the most opinion splitting, controversy stirring and divisive institution in Jamaican society and a lot of the reason for this actually is no fault of the institution itself.

So recognizing the above reality and acknowledging the literary prowess and infinitely sharp mind of Sir Robinson I eagerly awaited the well nuanced and balanced discussion of this lightning rod that is Campion. Unfortunately, but not altogether surprisingly, Mr. Robinson took the default position that many more contemporary Campionites take when the rest of society leans in on them with  the mostly unwarranted negative sentiments – he presented us with the combination of the litany of reasons Campion is great, blended with the subtle condescension that “you all really wish you were us.” And to top it off for me on a personal level, for no apparent reason Mr. Robinson sought to juxtapose the virtue of Campion by pejoratively comparing the strong Jesuit ethos of Campion to, what for him is the seemingly useless braggadocio of the motto “The Brave May Fall But Never Yield.”

Don’t get me wrong either, I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Robinson’s quite brilliant depiction of why Campion is a truly great institution that all Jamaicans should be proud of. And indeed we all should really be proud and I go on further to state that the Jesuit principles that have guided the school’s development and that are so ably described by Mr. Robinson should really form a template for the development of truly rounded citizens for the benefit of the Jamaican society.

But what Mr. Robinson has robbed us of is balance. Though mostly unjustified, there are perfectly reasonable explanations as to why Campion is not everybody’s cup of tea, not least of which is the subtle and not so subtle reminders that Campionites give us that we wish we were them. Though the catch 22 there is that sometimes that is the response of an attacked animal backed into a corner. But still what the article I eagerly awaited did not do was adequately account for what Campion has become a symbol of. Though Mr. Robinson merely mentioned it in an almost throw away fashion, Campion for all the developmental strengths it possesses does get the nation’s best students in large measure thus possessing a strong leg up on everyone else. Also a large swath of the school’s modern day population and I may venture to posit its “back in the day” population as well consisted of societies well to do. Simply put, in a gravely inequitable education system which foreshadows a probably more inequitable society on a whole, Campion has unwittingly become to many a symbol of this social stratification.

So I agree with Mr. Robinson that some of the persons who were dying for Campion to lose this years’ School’s Challenge Quiz Final need to grapple with some internal insecurities and perhaps even inferiority complexes. (Although this year people had many legitimate grouses not with Campion but how the Organizers handled Campion’s matches, but that is for another day.) Notwithstanding this agreement, what I expected from Mr. Robinson, and was left disappointed, was an honest acknowledgement that a lot of the anti-Campion sentiment also emerges from it being a symbol, right or wrong, for the social divides that mar our Jamaican existence.

SELAH!!!

PS –  To Sir Robinson, though you may disparage it, beyond the bar talk and the obnoxious bravado, the words “The Brave May Fall But Never Yield” have been a rallying cry that has steered many otherwise rudderless young men from lives of obscurity and strife to the upper echelons of success in their chosen fields of endeavor. And for those who may have not reached such lofty heights, the spirit of the Rt.Reverend PW Gibson, which those words channel gives us a reminder that though we face challenges we can overcome. I am sure you can acknowledge that beyond the Old Boys who won’t grow up, the Fortis ethos is of great value as is that of the strong Jesuit philosophy.

Fortis, Fortes…Respect.

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Comments
  1. theterribletout says:

    Very good points, well made. The writer MUST be a Campion graduate!

  2. Many will always root for the rural school in a school challenge quiz final. Especially when it’s Reverend Gibson’s Glenmuir.

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