Campion old girls credit school for their accomplishments

April 27, 2023
Campionites and The Distinguished award recipients (from left) Andrea Dempster-Chung, Shauna Fuller Clarke, Kerry-Ann Henry and Dr Terri-Karelle Reid.
Campionites and The Distinguished award recipients (from left) Andrea Dempster-Chung, Shauna Fuller Clarke, Kerry-Ann Henry and Dr Terri-Karelle Reid.

While the nation recognises them as some of the most successful women in the island, to each other they are simply 'old girls' of Campion College.

On Monday, Terri-Karelle Reid, Kerry-Ann Henry, Andrea Dempster-Chung and Shauna Fuller Clarke were among the 20 women bestowed with The Distinguished awards by The Gleaner's Flair Magazine. The women were awarded in the fields of Media and Communications, Arts and Culture, Nation Building, and Health, respectively.

In a group huddle, the quartet reminisced on their time in school and the valuable life lessons they picked up at the St Andrew-based institution.

"I am just so grateful for what I learned and what I experienced," said Fuller Clarke, who is an endometriosis advocate. "Without Campion ... as my foundation, I don't think I would have been able to do what I've done, immediately after." Reid described being at school as humbling.

"No matter how bright you think you are, you walk into Campion and realise that with a 96 per cent average you can probably come 10th in your class. So it's a very high performance environment and so you learn to be resilient. You learn to go back and reassess, refine and come back. So you learn these things that just feel like school, but when you enter the world of work and professionalism, you realise that you are competing and you must be able to do it with grace and you must be able to do it not just for yourself, but for whichever organisation you are attached to in whichever shape or form," she said.

Reid, who is an influencer, motivational speaker and host, noted that she used to take two buses to get home, and recalled the stereotypes assigned for various students by society.

"I think a lot of the times people have a notion that Campion kids are all privileged, or we all have drivers. I think it was beautiful to have this mix of students from so many different backgrounds. And I think it helped us to learn from each other and it kind of set us to learn in life really," she said.

For Dempster-Chung, who is the CEO of Kingston Creative, her time at Campion was the best introduction to Jamaican culture that she could get. She entered the school in grade nine from Glasgow, Scotland, and described it as a "microcosm of society".

"It was complete culture shock for me. I didn't know any patois, so I didn't know what was uptown, what was downtown, nothing. I didn't know any of it, but it was the best introduction to Jamaica that I could have had," she said. "I had friends who lived all over, and I got to see how all of those little bits and pieces intersected, and sometimes things clashed. Some people survived and some people really had a rough ride, if we're honest about it. There's people who now I speak to and they didn't enjoy their Campion experience because of that social clash. But it was there for you to make what you want to make out of it and I'm proud to be a Campionite."

While the academics were integral, Henry reminded the group of the moments of rest.

"There's so many [great memories] but I would always go with the fashion shows that always turned into a concert," she said, nudging her contemporaries to remember the apparently iconic Life Savers Concerts.

"And what was great was they would invite one DJ right? And just because it was the place to be, they would invite one DJ and everybody would just roll out," she said.

The quirky quartet then went into their school motto, ' Fortes in Fide et Opere', which translates to 'Steadfast in Faith and Good Works.'

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