PORT ANTONIO - Port Antonio High School has been reaping great academic success, especially in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), where grades seven and eight students have been copping passes in the exams.
The school is also boasting success in the recent CSEC sitting where one of its students Tanya Farr got passes for 10 subjects in one sitting. Three other students passed eight subjects, 11 passed seven and 10 were successful at six subjects.
“So I think we have been doing well,” said Basil Graham, principal of this eastern Jamaica school. “We have had students from grades seven and eight who have taken one or two subjects at the CXC level and were successful.”
He, however, pointed out that these students attended the extension school in the evenings.
Farr, who will be attending the College of Agriculture, Science and Education to pursue studies in the natural sciences before going to the University of the West Indies to do medicine, had high praise for the institution and the support received from her family.
“I studied hard and was to initially do six subjects then my biology teacher told me I can master it well,” she recalled, adding that her mother Rochell Burke was very supportive of her.
She received passes in principles of business, economics, office administration, chemistry, physics, mathematics, english language, english literature and human and social biology.
The former student council president said it was challenging balancing academics with other extra curricular activities but she never stopped studying.
“I did a lot of reading ahead of class so when I am in class I got the understanding and my sister Theresa always encouraged me to read ahead and that really helped me,” she said.
Burke, who is a member of the school’s ancillary staff, expressed pride at her daughter’s achievement.
“It was very hard but I tried to get her books for her and sometimes when I look at her bed it was always full of books. There are times when I need her to help me but she was focused on what she wanted, so I encouraged her,” she told the Observer North East.
She added further, “There are times when I don’t have it but I realised she needed the help so I decided to make the sacrifice as I had to play the role of mother and father because I see where she is trying.”
Meanwhile, the principal said the school has some academically gifted students and a good cadre of staff that is highly qualified and motivated.
The reigning champion and two-time-parish winner of the Library Service of Jamaica reading competition in the 12 to 14 age group is also a product of the institution.
“They are highly qualified and motivated as 99 nine per cent of the staff have their first degree and some are enrolled in various masters programme,” he said.
He explained further that the staff morale is very good and they are involved in various cocurricular activities.
The principal said the School Board has been very supportive and the overall discipline of the students has improved.
According to Graham, the parents are getting involved in the school’s operation and the educational focus is on the technical subjects, arts and sciences.
Graham said he hopes to establish a sixth form as well as a HEART certification programme in cosmetology, nail technology, housekeeping and welding.
The school has also been excelling in extra curricular activities having done well in cheerleading and 4H . The school has retained the parish championship for 4H as well as the 4H Teacher of the Year for the last four years. The students have also won numerous gold medals in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission Schools Festival competitions.