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St Jago marks 270 years

Sunday, January 26, 2014    

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ST Jago High School is celebrating its 270th year of existence this year.

As the first activity in celebrating its 270th anniversary, students, staff and graduates of the school will congregate at the St James Cathedral for a special thanksgiving service today, beginning at 4:30 pm.

Past students will also participate in devotion at the school's Monk Street campus tomorrow morning, with a fund- raising brunch set for February 2 at the Caymanas Golf and Country Club.

The celebrations will peak in June at the St Jago Past Students' Association All Batch Reunion.

Other major events in the celebratory calendar are Sports Day on February 6, Long Service and Awards Dinner on April 15 and Culture Fest in November. All are expected to enjoy heightened interest and attendance from the school family.

"We really are looking forward to enjoying the milestone," said Principal Sandra Swyer Watson, "since very few institutions can stand the test of time like St Jago has."

"It will definitely give present students a sense of their own wonderful potential," she added.

The Free School of St Jago de la Vega opened in 1744, thanks to an endowment from Jamaica's Lieutenant Governor, Colonel Peter Beckford.

Over 100 years after Beckford's passing in 1730, Francis Smith, the custos of St Catherine, left three thousand pounds to establish a school. That school, the Smith's Charity School, was opened in 1833 and Beckford and Smith's was born of a 1846 merger.

In 1897, Archbishop Enos Nuttall founded the Cathedral High School for Girls. By 1956, the all-boys Beckford and Smith High School merged with Cathedral High to form today's St Jago High.

St Jago's list of graduates includes the late National Hero Norman Manley, who was schooled there briefly, former Bermuda Premier Ewart Brown, retired Chief Justice Lensley Wolfe, World athletics champions Bert Cameron and Yohan Blake, Olympic champion Melaine Walker, Minister Without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for sport, Natalie Neita Headley, and Member of Parliament for Central Clarendon, former Cabinet minister, Mike Henry.

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