Good morning.

It is great to be with you today. Lady Allen and I take the opportunity to thank you accepting the invitation to be here and to dialogue with us. You represent real opportunities for how we can build better communities and a better nation.  We are here this morning because we want to hear what are your dreams and goals and how we an help you achieve them

In our midst this morning are future Governors-General, Prime Ministers, attorneys, doctors and scientists.   Among us also are future nurses, police men and women, teachers, bankers and journalists.  Many of you have an aptitude for athletics and may one day break Usain Bolt and Shelley-Ann Frazer’s Olympic world records I want to see you, so I can remember your faces, and boast about having known you before you became popular.

As we dialogue this morning an important question you must all ask yourselves this morning is, “Do you believe that you can become what you plan to be?”

Being self-confident and adopting a ‘yes I can do it attitude, is essential to your personal growth and development.   This is the mindset of individuals who succeed.

Achieving your goals, your dreams and your endeavours is to a large extent, dependent on the confidence that you place in your own ability to achieve them. Therefore, I invite you to follow me through today’s “lesson”, which I have entitled “REACHING FOR EXCELLENCE.” I hope the four (4) main points that I will leave with you today, will inspire you to achieve excellence in all areas of your life.

The first is “Believe in Excellence” as too often people settle for mediocrity.  In order for you to reach for excellence, you have to believe that excellence does exist. If you are unaware that excellence is there to be achieved, it is unlikely that you will ever reach for it. Excellence is anything that distinguishes you, and sets you apart. It is that quality that highlights an achievement of what is better, higher and greater. Evidence of excellence abounds in Jamaica in our sportsmen and women, students and entrepreneurs, so reach for it and you will achieve it.

Secondly, excellence does not mean the absence of failure. It is often thought that in order to achieve excellence you must never fail. While it is always good that you strive for the best, it is also important to recognize that failure does happen in life. You will get it wrong from time to time; you will even fail. But true excellence is found in the defeats of life.

You will stumble, but you must get back up, brush yourself off and keep on reaching. Usain Bolt was never an instant athletic superstar. He lost many races before becoming the Olympic and World record holder. National Hero the Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey suffered many setbacks in his personal and professional life, but is today regarded as a visionary and one of the most outstanding black men of his time.

If you need further encouragement, I invite you to read last Sunday’s newspapers and see how young Jamaicans are getting ahead amidst challenges.  They are truly examples of excellence. You too can become examples of excellence.

Thirdly, you must further believe that You can achieve excellence.” We have been failing in our society to consistently remind students that they can achieve excellence. I take this opportunity to remind you all that You can achieve excellence. No matter how high the goals seem to be, you can and must apply yourself to achieve them. Once you have determined your goals, look for their highest level that can be reached and use this to make excellence a part of your reality.

Finally students, if you believe in excellence then you must always Operate with Excellence, especially in your conduct, speech, attitude toward your lesson, and your punctuality and attentiveness at school. Use your brilliant minds, which are the most powerful and excellent supercomputers still known to man. Look around you, and find the advantages in your lives and utilize that as a catalyst to achieve excellence.


In all of this, I presume that all of your goals and endeavours are in the positive; because your excellence must always contribute to the amelioration of problems and challenges for your community and Jamaica.  Be honest and disciplined about your lives, and take responsibility for what you do. Remember that your integrity and character are two of the only commodities that will live on after you. Guard them jealously. Let your word be your bond. Be honourable in your dealings, no matter how simple, because excellence is to be found in each of these expressions of behaviour.

And so this morning we are going to talk!