My meeting with this young man was by unmitigated happenstance. He was an orator at a youth event, I was covering the story. It never struck me that I would come across someone so compelling, (that night), that by almost any means necessary, I felt that I had to feature this young man.
There were many orators at the event but the instance he graced the stand, and uttered his first words, my ears were perked and I had already picked out a profession for him— sports anchor. His tone was unlike any other and every pause, every word that escaped his mouth, had one hanging on. Without even questioning him about his qualifications, one could surmise that he is a learned individual, who would go on to accomplish great things.
Stewart StEdward, 20, soon to be 21, is a product of Babonneau, but currently resides in Corinth Estate. Humble, self assured, passionate and noticeably driven, this graduate of the Leon Hess Comprehensive Secondary and the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC), where he studied Business Administration, is now a banker at Bank of Saint Lucia, (BOSL).
Like many others with inspirational stories, Stewart started from humble beginnings. Whilst attending the SALCC, Stewart juggled work and school simultaneously to meet his daily requirements and assist his mother who is a vendor. At the time, he was employed with Consolidated Foods Limited, where, during his time at the establishment, he was promoted to Scan Coordinator. Stewart however, was raised by his aunt, a teacher at the Corinth Secondary who he credits for significantly contributing to his development, as well as another close aunt.
“Growing up, I had a great childhood, but it was not a bed of roses,” he recalled. “I had many challenges which I had to face head on but my thing is, when faced with a challenge, do you rise, do you fall, or do you do nothing at all?” he asked rhetorically.
“I always urge persons to rise and that is exactly what I did,” he added.
As expected, having so many responsibilities at such a young age moulded him into the remarkable being that he is today. This he said, allowed him to be more “thick-skinned”.
“You have to be very disciplined and organized. I had to have proper, proper, planning, and excellent time management skills” the young man emphasized.
Whereas some may be somewhat humiliated by their humble background, Stewart thinks it is paramount that one embraces it. “Never forget where you came from,” he said solemnly. “I’m from Babonneau, where we speak patois and where lots of the persons are farmers; I did my share of farming with my family as well,” the banker says proudly.
As for how he got into public speaking that is as a result of his unique ability. It was not something he gave much thought. Stewart however, wants to go into Human Resource Management in the future. For him, it’s solely about “speaking for those who don’t really have a voice, or the will.”
Stewart, who describes himself as “intrinsically motivated”, has also done a bit of pageantry. In 2005, he participated in the district one Mr. Independence show which he won. He also participated in a “Wa and Wen Kwéyòl” show, where he was successful there as well. For now however, he works behind the scenes in pageantry.
One thing which stuck with me throughout my interview with him was a quote he mentioned.
“Do not get obsolete like an old technology, keep innovating yourself.” — Sukant Ratnakar.
Stuart StEdward, you are truly remarkable.