Children have a candidness when they perceive something is not right. Sometimes they decide to do something about it, as 11-year-old Joseph Bernard.
Bernard saw the Secondary School Football League (SSFL) game in which St Benedict’s College, La Romaine scored a goal and ousted the defending champions, Naparima College on October 15 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium. Man of the Match was the captain and forward position player Tyrik Lee.
“I was watching the football match online and I saw only one boy getting a medal at the end of the match; I felt all the boys worked hard and should have gotten medals,” Joseph said in an interview.
During the July-August vacation, he saw the St Benedict’s players training hard at Union Hall, La Romaine, as his mother drove by. The San Fernando Boys’ RC pupil told his mother he would use his snack money to purchase medals for the rest of the team. His parents supported with the cost.
“She [his mother] helped me put it together and we took it to the school.” On the morning of October 20, before being dropped off at San Fernando Boys’ RC, Bernard and his mother stopped at St Benedict’s to deliver the medals. It was unplanned, few students were present and there was just a quick photograph of the handing over.
St Benedict’s Principal Gregory Quan Kep subsequently requested permission to use the photo on the school’s Facebook page. Bernard received praise for his action as it was the antithesis of viral videos of children fighting.
Joseph said, “as a Catholic family and school, we are always helping others, we give donations to the church and students who need so giving the medals made me feel happy and the boys felt appreciated.”
The photo generated 249 comments and 483 shares and 3,000 likes and love.
Two of the comments posted in response to the photo: “I don’t know if his parents might appreciate this comment, but I hope he has a future in public life! Parents, you have done a very good job instilling the right values in your son”; “Young man you deserve a trophy and extra snacks money, I applaud you for your kindness towards others.”
St Benedict’s went on to win the SSFL Final on October 26 at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva with three goals, a hattrick for Lee, against Fatima College’s one goal. Joseph of course was happy; Lee is his favourite player.
He will write the Secondary Entrance Assessment next year and has his sights set on attending St Benedict’s. Though his mother suggested other schools— “Pres” (Presentation College), “Naps” (Naparima College), as first choice, he insisted and she could only say “okay, Joseph”. It is no secret that Joseph enjoys football and hopes one day to be on the St Benedict’s team. —LPG