June 9, 2019
Phase I completed:
One of the reasons I love being a part of the our “old boys” network, is the joy of seeing us come together to give back to the school that played a major role in the formative years of our lives. This most recent experience was one such example of that collaborative effort.
Let me tell you how the AutoCAD project came together.
During the 2018 Homecoming celebrations I was approached by a student, DeJohn Marks. Young Mr. Marks told me about the challenges they were having in preparing for their external Technical Drawing examinations because of the lack of AutoCAD enabled computers. His complaint was not just for him though. In the spirit of a true Man of Might, he was advocating for his classmates as well. I told him to put the information together and get it to me. Why did I have him do some leg work? Well, I do not want our young men to develop the habit of complaining, if they are not willing to be part of the solution.
I also spoke with Principal Ellis, who confirmed the problem. I was glad to hear him say it was a part of his action plan and that his vision extends beyond merely equipping that lab, but to also expand the program to facilitate more students in order to prepare them for the future.
Well, good news. Mr. Marks did follow up as promised and sent the email with requested information and copied to his teacher. By this time, I had already received the information from Principal Ellis, but I was impressed that the young man followed through.
Here in Philadelphia, CCOBAMA is a new chapter. But we do work well collectively. In January of this year, a member the Class of ’85, and our chapter advised us of the IT Project being spearheaded by their year group. Mark Ricketts, on behalf of Adrian Kerr and their year-group reached out for assistance on securing hard drives to upgrade some computers being donated to the school. The members of our chapter quickly stepped up and we were able to purchase the hard drives.
In February, I received a call from Michael Williams, the secretary in our chapter who told me that an opportunity had emerged that might be too good to pass up. A company was relocating their call center to another location and downsizing. They had computers available, but they were selling fast, and we needed to inspect them to see if they were worth the investment. When we first made the call to confirm availability, there were forty-five computers available, two days later when we arrived to inspect them, there were only twenty-seven units remaining. We inspected them and took the lot.
Here is where belonging to the network of “old boys” pays dividends. I have never shipped anything to Jamaica. I reached out to Trevor Tomlinson of the New York chapter, and without hesitation he advised of the steps we needed to take and planned with Vincent “Vinny” HoSang and Sabrina HoSang to use their facilities to build crates for shipping these items to Jamaica. These arrangements came together in a total of three days. Thank you, Vinny and Sabrina.
Earlier I mentioned the hard drives purchased for the Class of ’85 chapter. As a result of our CPU purchase and their upgraded units, we now had a total of 49 computers available. Here’s the problem, Adrian lives in Virginia. I live just outside Philadelphia and we were planning on building crates for shipping in Tappan, New Jersey, just outside New York. Enter, Earl Findlater. Earl lives in Maryland, certainly closer to Virginia than I am, but by no means close to either Adrian or me. On a snowy afternoon, Earl drove from Maryland to Virginia to pick up the computers and IT equipment. He then drove from Virginia to the border of Delaware and Maryland where we met, and the items were transferred to me. That day he spent no less than eight hours driving in snowy weather. Thank you, Earl.
During that time, CCOBAMA purchased additional RAM and the members stayed up to upgrade the computers.
The next morning, Claude Howard and I packed the computers and IT equipment into a van and drove to Tappan, NJ. When we arrived eight members of the New York chapter were already in full swing building crates.
The computers and other equipment were shipped to Jamaica.
When the computers and other equipment arrived at the school, Garth Brown who it seems never sleeps saw the project through to completion. Working late into the evening and the weekend to complete the installation. The team at the school, worked diligently to ready the lab. The computers were delivered to the school on a Thursday and by the following Wednesday, they were used by the students for the sitting of their external examinations.
The thank you due to those mentioned above is obvious, and frankly I will never be able to thank them enough. But there are others whose contribution have gone under the radar and they must be thanked as well, as their financial contribution made this project a reality.
Patrick Clarke, Central Florida
Jeff McCloud, NY
Wendel Clarke, Canada
The Cornwall College Alumni Association of South Florida has pledged $2,500 toward the cost of acquiring, upgrading and shipping the computers to Jamaica. On behalf of CCOBAMA and myself, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude for their contribution.
Men of Might, we can do a lot if we pull together.
Equipping the additional Computer/AutoCAD laboratories to facilitate an expanded program.
Phase II will require an additional sixty computers with enough RAM and Hard Drive capacity to meet at least the minimum specifications of the software. We are working on sourcing the computers, but we will need the assistance of those, who are both willing and able to push this phase over the finish line.
If you are not a part of one of our alumni chapters, go to www.CornwallCollege.edu.jm or www.CornwallCollegeFoundation.org, identify one, connect and get involved. You can contact us at CCOBAMidAtlantic@gmail.com. The experience will be gratifying and the impact on those who are following in our footsteps, immense.
The Mid-Atlantic chapter meets in Philadelphia, however if you are unable to attend all meetings in person you can participate via teleconference.
Updated June 23, 2019
The contributions continue…
A few keen observers recognized in the photographs that the AutoCAD lab was only equipped with fans. One can imagine the how hot that room would be if classes are in session and all the computers are in use. The need for air conditioning became an urgent matter.
A big THANK YOU to the Class of ’89 Old Boys who came together to fund and arrange for the installation of air conditioning units for the AutoCAD lab.
Thank you again to all who participated in or contributed to making Phase I of this project a success.
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller