Mon, Jul

Naps underline Dowlath's holistic vision.

Two weeks ago there was a cel­e­bra­tion at Par­adise Pas­ture as 31 young men got the news that they had won na­tion­al aca­d­e­m­ic schol­ar­ships.

Fast for­ward to this past week and there was cel­e­bra­tion again at the Pas­ture, as 18 young men had just brought home the Pre­mier Di­vi­sion ti­tle in the Shell/First Cit­i­zens Sec­ondary Schools Foot­ball League.

This comes af­ter the Na­pari­ma Col­lege Un­der-14 crick­et team had lift­ed the South Zone ti­tle and fin­ished sec­ond in the na­tion­al race. The se­nior crick­et team placed sec­ond in both the league and In­ter­col crick­et tour­na­ments as well.

A very sat­is­fied prin­ci­pal Dr Michael Rawle Dowlath in an in­ter­view with Guardian Me­dia Sports said that the mantra at one of the na­tion's top learn­ing in­sti­tu­tions is a "holis­tic de­vel­op­ment".

He said, "We at the col­lege are very strong be­liev­ers that holis­tic de­vel­op­ment must take place with our boys or else we would have failed. When the boys come to Na­pari­ma Col­lege, they en­ter from vary­ing back­grounds and we try at the end of the day to have them read­ing from one hymn book.

"First­ly, we bring aware­ness to them that they must be their broth­er's keep­er. From here we build on that and when Na­pari­ma Col­lege goes out there to play, you can see the boys in the stands giv­ing their full sup­port and at the end of the day when suc­cess comes, they al­so to­tal­ly share in it."

The school has pro­duced a num­ber of schol­ars over the years and has been in a pur­ple patch un­der the lead­er­ship of Dowlath. The Pe­nal res­i­dent, who came to Na­pari­ma in 2006 from Iere High School, has been at the helm of a school that is revered in the coun­try.

Since 2006 to now, the school has brought home a to­tal of 364 schol­ar­ships and many of the young men have gone on to ex­cel­lent ter­tiary lev­el ed­u­ca­tion.

"We are very con­fi­dent when our guys move on from this in­sti­tu­tion that they will be of ben­e­fit to the coun­try. We at Na­pari­ma Col­lege fo­cus on mould­ing good gen­tle­men and that is what you get when you come here," said Dowlath.

"The teach­ers are very ded­i­cat­ed to the task and as it is with any school there are chal­lenges but the key is how you tack­le it and turn all neg­a­tives in­to pos­i­tives. The group of teach­ers here de­serves all the cred­it be­cause they work tire­less­ly in get­ting the job done. Many times they go be­yond the call of du­ty and as a re­sult, you see a school that is al­ways on the move up­wards."

The stu­dents at Na­pari­ma Col­lege un­der­stand who is in charge and this makes it eas­i­er for the teach­ers to go about their busi­ness. An in­ci­dent oc­curred dur­ing the high­ly charged Na­pari­ma ver­sus Pre­sen­ta­tion Col­lege foot­ball clash re­cent­ly. Stu­dents from both schools were chant­i­ng "not so nice things" about the oth­er and when the "Naps" boys start­ed a chant that was of­fen­sive, Dowlath rose to his feet, looked at them and im­me­di­ate­ly they grew silent.

He has al­so tak­en a keen in­ter­est in sports and cul­ture and tends to give this a lot of fo­cus. He called out a group of young crick­eters who were strug­gling in terms of win­ning match­es in 2017 and said to them: "You have the abil­i­ty to be cham­pi­ons, I have looked at the tal­ent here and I am go­ing to take a keen in­ter­est in your de­vel­op­ment."

He then guid­ed the sports de­part­ment in a cer­tain di­rec­tion in terms of giv­ing them the tools to har­ness the tal­ent and lo and be­hold, they were cham­pi­ons a year lat­er. He is very proud of this team in par­tic­u­lar

"They are the next gen­er­a­tion of Na­pari­ma Col­lege crick­eters and they know what is ex­pect­ed from them and they have bought nice­ly in­to the idea of rep­re­sent­ing their school with pride."

There are around 26 co-cur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties that the school of­fers and Dowlath thinks this helps in bring­ing out the best in the stu­dents aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly.

"We are hap­py to see the boys out on the field play­ing. I al­ways tell the teach­ers that boys will be boys, so we make al­lowances for that and the boys, in turn, re­pay us with good per­for­mances in the class­rooms."

As the school's tag-line goes "A Posse Ad Esse" (from pos­si­bil­i­ty to ac­tu­al­i­ty), the boys with heavy book bags strapped on their backs make the trip up the steep Par­adise Pas­ture hill with this at the fore.