‘A creative in­no­va­tive leader’

Jamaica Gleaner - - ARTS&EDUCATION - Paul Mes­sam Con­trib­u­tor Paul Mes­sam is a guid­ance coun­sel­lor at Mona High School in St An­drew.

THE SWIFT move­ment of his fingers and the sound of the or­gan is a re­minder that he is here. “I love mu­sic,” says Lawrence Dou­glas Wright.

There is mu­sic in his walk, in his talk, and in his gen­tle ad­vice. Wright has been prin­ci­pal of the Har­bour View Pri­mary School since 2007.

Al­though many of his fam­ily mem­bers are teach­ers, in­ter­est­ingly, his first goal was to do some cour­ses in auto me­chan­ics. How­ever, it was too late, and so he ended up at the doors of The Mico Univer­sity Col­lege.

When he en­tered the Mico, mu­sic was in his ears, heart and hands.

“When I ap­plied to do mu­sic, it was too late and so I had to set­tle to pur­sue a course in pri­mary ed­u­ca­tion,” Wright said. And that he did.

Af­ter grad­u­a­tion, he got a job at Ober­lin High School and taught mu­sic for two years. Then he went to Edna Man­ley Col­lege for the Arts and taught mu­sic there for three years. He was awarded a schol­ar­ship to go to South Carolina to do mu­sic and busi­ness, and also did some ed­u­ca­tional cour­ses.

He then moved to Nas­sau, where he spent four years teach­ing mu­sic. Af­ter that, he joined St Joseph’s Teach­ers’ Col­lege, where he spent nine years teach­ing mu­sic.

He was also a stu­dent at Cen­tral Con­necti­cut Univer­sity, where he stud­ied cour­ses in lead­er­ship and man­age­ment.

He re­turned to Ja­maica and joined Har­bour View Pri­mary School.

“I am try­ing to make a dif­fer­ence while I can,” says Wright. “I am al­ways try­ing to equip and ex­pose my­self to best prac­tices.”

Ac­cord­ing to Wright, he has been ex­posed to all ar­eas of the Lawrence Wright

ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. He sums up his phi­los­o­phy of life in five words: “Seek wis­dom and pur­sue it.”

The prin­ci­pal said he is a prod­uct of the Com­pre­hen­sive Pro­gramme as “it pre­pares the child; it has a path for all school leavers, un­like some of the aca­demic-based cour­ses”. He added that not all stu­dents are aca­dem­i­cally in­clined, al­though they are hard work­ers, but if they are guided into a path that brings out their true tal­ent and skills, they will be­come more ful­filled.

YOUTH PRO­GRAMMES

In or­der for his stu­dents to achieve their full po­ten­tial, he has spear­headed a num­ber of ini­tia­tives to boost their learn­ing out­come. Chess was in­tro­duced as a sub­ject, there is hon­our roll pro­gramme, the stu­dent par­tic­i­pate in the Ju­nior School’s Chal­lenge Quiz, and the school has re­ceived top award in the JCDC speech com­pe­ti­tion, and they also do very well in sports. The school has been work­ing with part­ner­ing with Carib Ce­ment on a men­tor­ship pro­gramme for boys and girls in all grades. There is also a Po­lice Youth Club and a Prin­ci­pal’s Lead­er­ship Club.

But how does he en­joy work­ing at his school over the years?

“I en­joy the suc­cesses, but feel chal­lenged be­cause of the short­age of re­sources and the chal­lenges that ac­com­pany the low so­cio-eco­nomic sta­tus of the stu­dents and their par­ents,” he said. “The en­joy­ment of see­ing the child who can­not read be­gin to read, and track­ing the progress of the chil­dren from grade 1 through to grade 6 is wor­thy of note.”

“He is a creative in­no­va­tive leader,” said Damion Hurst, vice-prin­ci­pal of Har­bour View Pri­mary School. “Mr Wright is an out­go­ing per­son, a peo­ple per­son who is al­ways will­ing to help peo­ple.”

Rose­marie Anderson of the PTA de­scribes Wright as a very lov­ing and car­ing per­son. “It is easy to com­mu­ni­cate with him as he is not a dif­fi­cult per­son,” she said.

“Mr Lawrence Wright could be de­scribed as a vi­sion­ary leader who has the abil­ity to use team­work to bring such con­cepts into man­i­fes­ta­tion,” says Cherise Mad­den, the school’s guid­ance coun­sel­lor.

He is one per­son who pos­sesses a great per­son­al­ity in that he is self­less, mo­ti­vat­ing, and very un­der­stand­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to the guid­ance coun­sel­lor, Wright en­cour­ages growth and high per­for­mance among his staff. And in his pur­suit of in­still­ing pro­fes­sion­al­ism and strong val­ues, he loves a hearty Ja­maican meal.

He en­joys a meal of ox­tail, and loves cas­sava frit­ters with turn corn­meal. School’s motto: “Learn­ing is liv­ing” Num­ber of teach­ers: Ap­prox­i­mately 37 Num­ber of chil­dren: 1,200

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