Champs star inspires Immaculate ambitions
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION High School got its 2023 track season off to a fine start at Jamaica College last weekend, thanks to the hard work by its student-athletes and expert guidance by the team’s coaching staff. In addition, the Immaculate team had...
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION High School got its 2023 track season off to a fine start at Jamaica College last weekend, thanks to the hard work by its student-athletes and expert guidance by the team’s coaching staff.
In addition, the Immaculate team had a moment of inspiration during the Christmas break from Camille Coates-Clark, a girls’ Championships gold medal winner from the 1980s.
Winner of the Class Three 100 metres in 1981, Coates-Clarke shared with the team her vast experience, on the track and off it.
“I felt a lot of pride and just seeing the school and seeing the students and seeing their dedication,” said Coates-Clark who won silver medals for Jamaica at the 1981 Carifta Games and the 1986 CAC Games.
“I just told them they can do it too and it was important for me to let them identify with someone who started just right where they were, from, you know, a small beginning,” she said.
She went into 1987 with the 1986 national 100-metre title in her pocket, and with the World Championships looming as the big international target. Unfortunately, she injured her hamstring outdoors.
The former Abilene Christian University sprinter is now a top orthopaedic surgeon in the United States and was delighted that some of the girls want to be doctors. “Not only did we talk about their athletics, but what they wanted to do in life, what they wanted to become, and there were about three of the student-athletes who wanted to become doctors, one or two who wanted to be orthopaedic surgeons. So, of course, you know, that piqued my interest, and I just gave them good pointers to what they need to do,” she said.
With memories of her days at Immaculate flooding her mind, the Spanish Town native toured the school, including the gym.
“I got excited. I did some push-ups with some of the girls, and I did some squats and some lunges. Yes, I got excited. I couldn’t help myself,” she said with a giggle.
She recommended that the whole team adopt a positive attitude.
“Not giving up, you know, and not letting anything stand in the way of their success and holding on to something positive each day. For me, that’s prayer, and whatever it is that gets them going, to just not give up, and to share and to encourage each other because, you know, they’re all going to the same place,” she said.
During her visit, she was able to visit legendary Immaculate educator Sister Maureen Clare Hall.
“It was a really meaningful, touching, emotional time,” Coates-Clark explained, “and she told me that she talks about me all the time.”
Immaculate head coach Franz Forde said the visit was a source of motivation.
“We encourage our alumnae (girls) coming out and just going ahead you know and continue to motivate our girls we have there. So, it was really good to see Dr Coates,” said Forde.