As the students of the St George Secondary School interacted with a cross section of professionals at the school’s career showcase today, they came into contact with one disabled upholster who told them his story of hope and proved to them that there was a career for everybody.
Patrick Forde, a disabled man, who has earned an honest living from upholstery for 25 years, urged the students, whatever career they chose to take up in life, to be mindful that all were important and needed.
Forde told Barbados TODAY that some students who visited his booth were interested in the age-old profession although, as expected, some were not.
“Some saying they want to be lawyers and doctors and police officers,” he said.
“But when it comes to upholstery, you must have patience, and the children don’t want to be patient. Everybody wants to be fast. But I try to explain to them that everybody can’t be a doctor or a lawyer; so you still got to have some kind of trade to make it in life.
“I have a disability, but I don’t ever let it stop me. I realize that in life you have to have hope and a skill to do what you have to do; and I enjoy doing what I have to do,” Forde said encouragingly.
The showcase was organized by two of the school’s guidance counsellors.
One of them, Cyrilene Willoughby, said the event was held to allow students to recognize that every talent they have could be put to use, and every skill had a worth, and to generally open their minds to the many opportunities that existed.
“It is all about making them aware and helping to create the correct mindset and opportunities for them to go out there and say ‘I can’,” she said.
Willoughby said students at the school were interested in becoming chefs, cosmetologists, lawyers, doctors and pursuing other traditional careers.
Professionals from the Barbados Fire Service, Royal Barbados Police Force, Barbados Fire Cadets, Barbados Defence Force, Barbados Port Authority Inc., a massage therapist and a chef were among those who turned up to offer guidance.
Representatives from the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic were also on hand to provide information about the tertiary institution’s offerings.
As for the type of behaviour being exemplified by charges at the institution, Willoughby said the students were disciplined and polite at school.
“Outside of the school we have limited control, but we do try for the most part to get the students to understand that what they do inside and outside reflects on them and the school.
“But our students are just like students everywhere else, and if given the opportunities, like students everywhere else have, they can be the best they can possibly be. The reality is that students are students wherever you go, and you are going to have the challenges. Some things in here will be different from other schools, but there are things in here that some other schools wished they had as well,” she added.