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By Klieon John

St. Kitts Reporter

St. Kitts’ first ever cricket academy, founded by former West Indies cricketer Keith Arthurton, saw its first graduation ceremony for under thirteen students on Saturday, November 10, 2007.

Eleven students of the academy received certificates witnessed by their parents, media and various iconic figured to the game of cricket in St. Kitts. Those present included former chairman of the West Indies Cricket Board Charles Wilkin, Dave Connor, coordinator of sports, and Donovan White, representative for Digicel, sponsors of the academy.

Wilkin reminded the children of the value of the opportunity afforded to them and of the great significance that this academy will be in their professional lives.

“I want you kids to realize how fortunate you are to be involved with Keith because that will be significant to you later on in your careers when you say ‘I began my cricket at the Keith Arthurton Cricket Centre’. Every time you are playing, remember what Keith says: ‘Success comes from hard work and discipline is the key to success’. You really have to love this game to play it seriously but it is an excellent game for the development of character and your growth into well-rounded men who can achieve success in all aspects of life.”

“Digicel’s commitment to the development of West Indies Cricket can be seen in our involvement in things like this; being part of development from a young age.

We see cricket as part of the embedded culture of Caribbean people. When we are not playing good cricket we’re sad all over the Caribbean. This is why we are committed to keeping the smiles on Caribbean people’s faces.

Being a part of the Keith Arthurton Cricket Centre Academy is an important thing for us but the parents must be involved as well. This support is essential particularly to persons of this age as this is the time when they are most dependent on the adults.”

Certificates were then presented to the eleven under-13 graduates, after which Keith Arthurton conveyed the great pride and satisfaction he felt at this notable milestone on not only his, but the children’s young careers.

“My main objective is to get players to go on to the highest level. I’ve seen the talent needed for that since 2002, when we were tossing around balls in a drive-way and I still see it even today. There is always the potential for them to become extraordinary players and I have no doubt that we will indeed produce just that.”

He then presented a plaque to Charles Wilkin on behalf of his father, Calvin Wilkin, who he says was particularly instrumental in the development of his career as a cricketer. Arthurton received his first batting contract from Wilkin, which sparked off his career in the 1980’s.

His son, Charles Wilkin, a former cricketer himself, then bowled a delivery to Jonathan Phillip, one of the graduates, to ceremonially mark the occasion.

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