Thursday 5th May, 2005


Strive for excellence - Ato

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A student from Arima Senior Comprehensive poses a question to local track and field star Ato Boldon at the school on Tuesday.

Ato Boldon makes a strong point.
Photos: Dilip Singh

By Carol Matroo

Achieving excellence is not a sprint but a marathon, says Olympic bronze medalist Ato Boldon.

“That thing called excellence is not an act. It is not something that when you go to school one day, it happens.

“It is not something that happens when lightning strikes. It’s not an act; it’s a habit,” Boldon said while speaking to students of Arima Senior Comprehensive and Arima Government Secondary schools on Tuesday.

He said it was not important if other students were doing better...they could still be surpassed if others strove to achieve excellence.

As several students raised their hands when asked if they would rather not be at school, Boldon reminded them that there were children all over the world who were not as blessed to have a proper education.

“Those who feel school is a pain and a chore and a bore, I wish that you could see what I have seen in other countries.

“There are places in Africa where there isn’t a school in every city, borough or village; where children would walk 30 or 40 miles just to get to a school that is just half the size of this auditorium.

“At this stage in your lives, everything is a problem…but what is the alternative?” he asked.

While the overwhelming response was to party and lime, Boldon advised the students they would be a burden not only to themselves, but to their teachers, as they would be behind in their school work.

“They understand that the only way to make anything of this gift called your life, is to be here. Grin and bear it,” Boldon said, while admitting he was in danger of failing university as his grades fluctuated.

He said it was in the human nature to take for granted that which was easily presented to them.

Boldon said being excellent in life was not easy.

He added that while not everyone was tagged for excellence, never try to be like someone else.

“Separate yourself from the pack. Be excellent.”

While he told the youngsters to maintain a certain amount of attitude, he advised them to channel it in the right direction.

“Don’t reserve your attitude for the guards, teachers and parents.

“You have to look at what everybody else is doing and not only do it better than them, but make it work for you.”

Boldon said while some people might have written off students because of certain incidents of violence in recent times, he saw no “lost causes” among those present.

He also asked that they not let other people’s opinions influence their decisions in life.

Boldon also pressed parents to pay more attention to their children.

“Crime is not solely government and politics. Take care of your own and stop minding other people’s business.”




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