24 October, 2012


I am mentor at my alma mater Calabar High School. Last Friday morning was an interesting mixed bag and Spirit led me to me to deliver an impromptu mini-motivational speech to the class of 1st formers that I mentor. I'm sharing what I remember (and have embellished on):

Let me tell you why I and the other mentors make the time to come here on Friday mornings. We do it because we have made a commitment to save as many of you as we can, as many of you who will let us, as many of you who want us to. We stand, meet and commit to this process as men who are proud to say we went to this historic institution, men who proudly, loudly and unashamedly call ourselves Rabalac Lions, men who value what we learnt and were taught here, men who know that a significant part of who we are is because of the quality of teaching, stewardship and mentorship that we got when we sat in classrooms on these grounds.

Another reason that we commit to being a mentor is because we stand in opposition to the mind-sets and cultures that say that Calabar is a lost cause, that the boys who come to Calabar are lost causes, that boys cannot excel academically, that certain types of boys, from certain places are destined to fail, that being able to run fast and kick a ball is more important than being able to read, write and think. We stand resolute against the increasing support for the ideas that ‘man a bad man’ and that men cannot have manners, style, charm and know time and place. We boldly stand against these things and call them lies, we negate them and dismiss them and we claim and affirm different norms and a new culture, the culture of Calabar, a culture of pride, Lions’ pride.

Look around the room at your classmates. All of you sit in privileged positions. Do you have any idea how many boys would like to be sitting in your seat, at your desk? So my question to you is this? Now that you are here, sitting at this desk, in this classroom at my alma mater, your school, our school…what’s your plan?

Can I tell you what my goal is? What I have affirmed and claimed like a mantra? It is simply this: in 4 years’ time as many of you that want to will be graduating from 5thform at your best. You will have grown and matured into young men that your parents, school, family, mentors, community and country can be proud of. I also affirm that I will see as many of you who aspire to this, in your white shirt and green and black tie, a 6th former, mentoring first formers.

But let’s be clear, those of you who repeatedly prove that you don’t want to, or don’t deserve to be here, who want to be on the other side of these walls…we will help you meet that goal.

So gentlemen, choose: In or out? Success or failure? Quality or mediocrity? Do you plan to join the pride of Rabalac Lions or not? Choose wisely….and I guarantee that there are several of us ready and willing to help take this journey. Onward young lions…onward.

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