June 2018 Volume 15

The Robert Kelly Memorial Scholarship Fund

Joel Kelly
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My father was man with a incredible sense of purpose; A man who felt he had a duty to put the needs of others over that of his own; A man who was always first and foremost committed, if he elected to take on a challenge. Other than family, no one knew this better than the boys and Ol’ Boys of my fathers alma mater, Kingston College.

The years he spent there as a student shaped every aspect of his life and defined his role in the world. My father had an incredible vocabulary which he would credit to an english teacher, he affectionately referred to as “Styley Riley,” for instilling in him an early foundation from which to build on. He learned from his headmaster and early mentor, Douglas ‘Dougs’ Forest, that in all things KC, the commitment in the end was always to the boys of the institution’s Melbourne and North Street campuses.

He learned about fraternity and friendship through life-long relationships that have endured the tests of time, space, and distance. His love of athletics was cultivated on the cricket pitch, football fields, table tennis tables, and track on thecampus. His appreciation of music and the gift of song, was fine tuned in the chapel on North St, while he was a member of the Chapel Choir.

I can speak about these things because these memories were my youth. When I was a toddler while my peers were being put to sleep with stories of mother goose and nursery rhymes, I would go to bed with stories of the great Trevor ‘TC’ Campbell who my father would refer to as a man amongst boys on the football field.

On the 3 hour long car rides to New York from Springfield for KCOBA NY board meetings, I would hear of the greatest era of athletic high-school dominance in Jamaica history. Where for 14 consecutive years, which encompassed my father’s entire time in high school, the boys of Kingston College won the Inter-Secondary School Track and Field Championships, known simply as ‘Champs.’ For those who have never experienced ‘Champs’ it’s life changing. For a few days in March the National Stadium is packed with fans, music, food, and all eyes are on the finest track and field youth the island has to offer. A performance that day in the National Stadium can transform a child into a legend. I heard the recollections of many legends during the that time.

Being proud of your KC and sharing your memories among friends however was not enough. It was clear to my father, the only way to truly be ‘KC’ and honor this special place was to give back. To give your time, energy, love, efforts, and most certainly, your money. It was no secret if you were a friend, associate, business partner, or family. At some point you would be tapped do your part for KC. Every school I attended, my father on visits, while coaches and athletic directors would try to impress us about the having the latest equipment and apparel, my father would interject, “I think I could assist you and lighten your load with your old gear.

When I got a summer job coaching at American International College at their annual camp, my father picked me up after my first day. I introduced him to their then head coach. The man wasted no time in saying, “if my son has not told you already, I will, I need a commitment from the school to fill two barrels of gear, shirts, and equipment to send to Jamaica for my high school.

The coach laughed, then looked in my father's eyes and realized he was completely serious and that “no” was not going to be an option. My last day of work we pulled up the truck and filled it to the brim with boxes. At a closing for a house my father was selling, the deal hit a temporary snag when a condition for the sale required a $10,000 donation to Kingston College.

When you were on the phone with my father as an Old Boy you would be reminded of your obligation to the school and that phone conversation would rarely end without some sort of commitment, he would then hold you to. So it is only fitting that in celebrating his life
and legacy that I honor his memory and do what is expected of me. One of my father’s favorite sayings was, when two or more fortis gather, a collection must be taken.”

Please support the newly established Robert A. Kelly Memorial Fund an annual scholarship that will make it possible for a youngster in need that hails from my father’s school prior to KC, Greenwich Primary School or his childhood neighborhood in Whitfield Town, to attend Kingston College.

I thank you in advance.


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