Be Inspired

Sylvester Leader, a Motivational Speaker and a former Personal Adviser at Notre Dame 6th Form College, came back to the College to talk to students about Black History, celebrated in October of each month here in Britain. This is a topic of which Sylvester is extremely passionate. His assembly talks went down quite well with the students at the college. Soon after, he was interviewed by Shona Cain.

Q) What made you interested in Black History?

A) At school, History was always my favourite subject and I eventually studied History at University Level. Sadly though here in Britain Black History is not part of the National Curriculum and as a result so many students miss out on the real historical facts of life and continue to grown up in ignorance of other cultures which have contributed so much to the mainstream culture here in Britain. One of my objectives is to bring this history, black history if you like out of the shadows and into the limelight so that we can have a better understanding of the contributions made to world history by black people the world over. In a way, I see myself as a crusader; I am extremely passionate about imparting that knowledge.

Q) Do you have a particular hero that is significant to you?

A) Personally my mother Julia Eglantine Leader as she has been a very strong and extremely positive woman who unfortunately was widowed very early and was left to feed, clothe, provide and educate 10 children all on her own. This was done in the confines, context and challenges of a harsh Caribbean environment. Thanks be to God all of her children went on to higher education and have established themselves in various professions. My political hero though would be the late Dr Martin Luther King mainly for his strength and character and his adherence to non violence to bring about equal rights for black people in America. He was educated and eloquent and did not have to involve himself in that just struggle but he did and paid the ultimate price with his own life. He died at age 39 and he to me is a real hero as he has left us a legacy that we can emulate.

Q) What are the main differences between St. Kitts and Leeds?

A) St.Kitts is a very small Caribbean island with a very small population compared to Leeds, one of the major cities here in Britain. It is less multicultural too and very laid back with a significantly slower pace of life. Education and the pursuit of it is taken very seriously in St.Kitts as it is still seen as the vehicle which would transport many from poverty to affluence. In the Caribbean the people are very God fearing and church attendance is very common among the population there at home. Needless to say the weather is so much warmer and sunny. Well what do you expect; you are talking about the Caribbean, the sunny Caribbean.

Q) What motivates you to do public speaking in schools and colleges?

A) Personally I think that I am very good at it at least that is what many people say to me whenever I speak in schools and colleges throughout the city. I am not really afraid and timid especially when I feel that I have a message to convey to students to encourage them to use their God given gifts, skills and talents and to make a success of their lives.

Q) Do you have a message for the students here at Notre Dame?

A) Yes. The can make a difference in life and should not take education for granted. They should discover their gifts and talents and use it to benefit themselves and others and they should all consider going into higher education and even going overseas.

By Shona Cain

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