Students visit Cincinnati from Jamaica to grow leadership skills, learn business

Posted at 5:08 PM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 22:07:55-04

CINCINNATI — A group of students from Jamaica will spend 15 days in Cincinnati thanks to a leadership program through the Melbourne & Michael Folkes Foundation.

On Wednesday, they visited the WCPO studio to learn about different departments and see how those departments work together to produce news, weather, sports and advertising programs.

They've seen many aspects of the Queen City during their stay, and will see quite a few more before departing back to Jamaica on July 21.

"We have been to so many different places that back home we would never dream of seeing," said Fiona Wallace, the students' teacher from Waddy Primary School in Friendship, Jamaica. "Coming here, we would never believe that we'd see this."

Wallace has traveled around Cincinnati with her students, Jayvoun Reid, Tisheeka Hodgson and Lemar Hugget through stops at GE Aviation, a dentist's office, a law firm, the city council of Hamilton, Hamilton Casters and more.

The students are learning what it means to be a leader, a mentor and a businessperson through the aid of the Melbourne and Michael Folkes Foundation.

Folkes himself is the epitome of the American dream. He moved from Jamaica as a teen and has been a successful businessman in Hamilton for years.

"As a result of being grateful, I'm trying to show them that borders and boundaries are really invisible, so to speak, if you apply yourself and put ambition and hard work to the forefront," said Folkes.

He said all the students visiting Cincinnati are born leaders, but he's given them homework for their return to Jamaica: They have to pass on what they learn, and become a mentor for someone else.

"Encourage them on a day to day basis and giving good advice, helping them in doing things that help them to advance in their living," said Hodgson to the question of what it means to be a mentor.

Reid said it means being someone to look up to, look to for advice and help others on the right track.

"Lead them in the right direction and on the right track, and helping them to be faithful and truthful," said Hugget. "Have courage, so they might help someone else."