By Christopher Tobutt
The most recent Boyz 2 Men inductees, more than 50 in total, filed onto the bleachers in the John Gray High School. They had each already been given their special “Boyz 2 men,” face-masks, at the door by the group’s founder and director, Christopher Murray, who started the group going with just three boys 11 years ago. they were all set for their official induction, because they were going to be presented with the smart black ties which have become the group’s emblem. The smart black ties are a central part of the mentorship programme which aimed at helping fourteen and fifteen year old boys from John Gray to become true gentlemen, as they learn self-respect and respect for others.
Minister of Home Affairs, Youth, Sports, Culture and Heritage, Hon Bernie Bush MP, who spoke to the boys about the benefits of acting like young gentlemen all the time. “Never get upset over words people say to you. Hold on to your core values the values you have been taught on this course and remember to always act like a gentleman.”
As they progress through the programme, the boys are helped and encouraged at every turn, not only by one another (their new ‘brothers’) but also by many role models, successful entrepreneurs, as well as professionals, who come to give inspirational talks to the boys. One of the highlights is visiting the Ritz-Carlton hotel, where senior hospitality staff gladly give up their time to teach the principles, and the techniques, of courtly etiquette. Later on, the boys are invited to escort their mothers back to the Ritz – Carlton, for an evening of fine dining.
Another person who has helped is George Town Elected Representative Mr. David Wight. He has steppe up to the plate, year after year, and brought all the black ties for the boys. “This is a programme that I love, and I will sponsor it as long as I am able to, because it is very dear to my heart,” he said. There are more and more ties to buy each year, because the group keeps growing. The boys see how joining up changes their friends, and they want to join too.
Mr. Seaford Russell, now a journalist, was one of three boys who joined the very first cohort “These ties represent the start of your journey to success,” he told the boys. “I was one of the first three, and I was pretty rough and tough back then I can tell you. But now I’m a journalist I’d like to say I am successful …raise your hand if you are going to be successful”
All the boys stood proud and straight before lining up in single file to receive their ties from all the adult supporters of the programme. Just before they did, John Gray Principal Jonathan Clark addressed them. “When you leave school, I want you to be able to look Mr. Murray, myself and Mr. Seaford in the eye and say, “thank you. I made a difference to myself, my school and my community,” Mr. Clarke said, “I am very, very proud of you boys.”