It’s that time of year again when students request their school principals invite local personalities to their school to read to them. It emerged that STAR publisher Rick Wayne looks forward to his invitation from St Mary’s College almost as much as they look forward to meeting him.On Thursday morning the publisher read to Form 4 students from Derek Walcott’s What the Twilight Says and from his own Lapses & Infelicities. But not before the guest had asked the students to “put up your hands, those among you, who don’t like to read.” When several hands shot up, he picked out two students and asked them to explain why they did not enjoy reading. One claimed books bored him, while the other said reading tended to make him sleepy.
A quick lecture on the causes of boredom followed—plus personal stories from the guest based on the value of reading good books. But perhaps what both visitor and hosts most enjoyed was question time. The students’ questions touched on culture, the date of elections, what they thought of local politicians and sections of the media. Even the so-called “rapes in the square” was discussed.
No surprise that the publisher resurrected his now funny tale of how he was expelled from the college “a hundred years ago —which was perhaps the best thing that ever happened to me.” When the audience threatened the roof, he quickly added: “This is not to recommend you get yourself expelled. Pay attention to your teachers, obey school rules, learn the value of discipline, and see if you can make it to graduation. That’s the ideal!”
“I really was thrilled that these 15-16 year olds knew so much about what I do,” Wayne commented afterward. “Some of them even quoted lines from my TV show TALK.