July 2020 Volume 16

Ari Rodgers Heads to Grambling State University

Reprinted from Jamaica Observer
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Kingston College (KC) principal Dave Myrie heaped praises on the Ugandan long-distance star Aryamanya Rodgers who has left an indelible mark on the school and the wider Jamaica as the latter embarks on a full athletics scholarship to Grambling State University in Louisiana.

Rodgers arrived in Jamaica in 2016 and quickly established himself as an accomplished middle- and long-distance runner and currently holds the Jamaican high school record for the 2000m steeplechase with a time of 5:49.46 which he set at the boy's and girl's athletic championships (Champs) in 2018.

However, Rodgers and KC were placed under extreme pressure by people who opposed his participation in the popular Champs.

“Ari Rodger has had quite an experience with us here at Kingston College, and as you know he came here amidst quite a bit of talk and media hype following him doing some good times on the track or in the cross-country runs and the whole issue of him competing for us at Champs and there was everything to do to try and stop him,” said Myrie.

“When you think back about those days you just shake your head as to all of that over one youngster. Notwithstanding, the youngster persevered, did well in his CXCs, went onto sixth form as well and has done well and now he is off to university on a full scholarship,” he added.

Rodgers, who showed his versatility, became one of the few students in the modern era to win both the athletics championship and the Manning Cup football titles. He played his part in ending KC's 31-year drought by scoring eight times before getting injured in the final.

“So we are really quite happy for Ari because it couldn't have been easy to come out of your homeland into a foreign country with no family, trying to settle down and get an education.

“But again Kingston College has always been a family for anyone who is a part of the Kingston College fraternity and so we were his family here to ensure that everything went in the way that we wanted it to. At the end of the day he persevered and now he is moving on,” Myrie noted.

“You think about the highlights of Ari and the biggest one to us is his involvement in the Manning Cup victory, and Ari will tell you he is more of a footballer than a track star. He helped us to that Manning Cup victory which was so important and even in the Champs victory even though he wasn't at his best because of injury, he jogged and added a point or two to the tally that we had,” Myrie continued.

The KC principal believes Rodgers is leaving the North Street-based institution a more rounded individual than when he first arrived.

“So this youngster had really been a standout for us at KC and he is leaving a much, much better person than the person who came here. We wish him well as we worked on ensuring that he got his scholarship. He's now gotten it and will be looking to go off very shortly. Part of what KC does, and I think we do this fairly well, is to take youngsters who others may think not much may come of them, work with them, and turn them out in a way that is positive for them and their future. So we wish Ari all the best as he goes on another leg of his educational journey,” he emphasised.

A doting Myrie was quick to point out that at least 20 Kingtson College student athletes have gained scholarships to overseas universities which is a testamant to the level of balanced work being done at the school.

— Howard Walker

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