Students at John A. Cumber Primary got schooled in commitment and dedication on Wednesday morning, when Olympic hurdler Ronald Forbes talked to them about what it takes to succeed.
Mr. Forbes, who was among the honorees at Monday’s Heroes Day celebration and recently had the playing field at the north end of Frank Sound Road named for him, spoke to the school’s more than 500 students about his own journey as an athlete and how they too might reach their dreams.
Annette Vaughan, a teacher and librarian at the school, said she ran into Mr. Forbes at the airport last week and asked him to come speak at the school.
“He said he enjoys talking to the youth,” Ms. Vaughan said.
Mr. Forbes, she said, spoke to a general assembly of the school for about half an hour, and spent an additional 15 minutes with the children participating on the school’s sports teams.
“He said they had to show dedication,” Ms. Vaughan said. “It all starts with dedication at school. It was good motivation for them.”
Devon Wright, 10, said he was inspired by Mr. Forbes’ appearance.
“I’m so proud of him and what he has achieved,” he said, “and that he took the time to talk to us.”
Devon said he plays soccer and competes in track and field, and he took to heart Mr. Forbes’ message of doing well in school first.
“He said it started from the classroom,” he said. “That’s where you build up and become a better person on the field. He said [to] stay dedicated and have confidence.”
Devon’s classmate, James Robertson, 10, said he only recently began playing basketball, but feels more motivated to pursue it after hearing Mr. Forbes’ story. He also plans to apply himself more as a student.
“I’ll focus more on getting to school early and getting my job done,” James said.
While he had heard pep talks before about dedication and achieving his dreams, Mr. Forbes “said it more convincing. He made it feel more real,” James said.
Sir John A. Cumber teacher Shakeina Bush trained with Mr. Forbes in her younger years and both attended Florida International University.
“He’s one of my closest friends,” said Ms. Bush, who was also honored during Heroes Day. Many of the students were already familiar with his accomplishments, she said, and were excited to have him on campus.
“It’s good for our students to see role models that are Caymanian,” she said. “And because it’s track season, they absolutely love it.”