By Kimberly Stewart
There is something inspiring about young children engaging in sporting activities. There is a bigger picture: one of unity, progress, of reaching out for the prize. As I made my way to Trench Town with the Shashamane Sunrise team to partake in National Baptist Basic School Annual Sports Day, I anticipated reliving my childhood through the students’ enjoyment, through their innocence and joy. I was expecting a splendid time and I refused to let the stigma surrounding Trench Town curb my excitement. As I disembarked and took in my surroundings, a popular quote came to me: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I’m glad I refrained from judgment. Immediately, I saw parent and teacher interaction: the parents were dressed in full colors of their children’s houses to show support, which demonstrated me that parents, no matter where they live, take part in the development of their children. My team and I were greeted with a warm welcome from staff and students—the sight of them running towards us told me that my desire to relive my youth would be fulfilled.
Anticipation shone through the kids’ faces as they waited for the principal, Pauline Shaw, to officially declare the day had begun. As soon as she did, the noise level skyrocketed and the excitement began. Trust me, a basic school sports day is not to be underestimated! My team and I had not a moment to spare: there was so much to do. Tasks ranged from photography to record keeping to judging to prize- giving. It was a handful, but it couldn’t compare to the feeling of fulfillment we got from helping the kids on their big day. The ecstatic looks on their faces as Christabelle Brown, Stacy-Ann Nelson, Christina Williams, and I issued their ribbons were so satisfying, as I could only imagine the blissful feeling the children were experiencing with their parents by their side.
The day progressed as the sun intensified, but that intensity paled in comparison to the thrill the children got as they took part in the first race, potato race, and sack race during the first half of the day. The event was enlivened by music during the intermission, and everyone (including parents and my team) found their dancing feet. It was truly a memorable moment, and the highlight for me was the support and involvement of parents. It left me in great awe.
The day ended with the blue house dominating the yellow and red houses. Despite the losses, all three houses celebrated the victory as my team and I handed the winning trophy to the victors. It was a rewarding moment, and the day was a great success overall, but it didn’t end there for the Shashamane team. We then made our way out to Montego Bay. The journey was long, and even though we arrived late, we took the time traveling to get to know much more about each other. I believe this is what Shash Socials are about: the bonding among team members. Volunteering is indeed FUN.
Kimberly Stewart is Miss Teen Jamaica 2015 Runner Up, a computer science student, and a Shashamane Sunrise Volunteer.