Hopewell High celebrates first TVJ All Together Sing win


Hopewell High celebrates first TVJ All Together Sing win

Observer West writer

Thursday, December 12, 2019

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HOPEWELL, Hanover — It was an all-day celebration and emotional atmosphere for the Hopewell High School community in Hanover on Monday, following the 13-year-old institution's first win in the Television Jamaica's (TVJ ) All Together Sing competition, a day earlier.

Sixth form student, Colleen Anderson, a member of the 30-member-strong choir, expressed delight at winning the competition.

“I am a part of the winning choir for All Together Sing this year and I am feeling very elated at this win,” she told the Jamaica Observer West.

Anderson said handling preparation and school work at the same time was difficult for her.

“We had to do a lot, especially the times when we had classes and choir practice at the same time and everything just piled upon us one time. It was just so hard. I could hardly manage,” she shared.

Her fellow choir member, Alex James, a grade 10 student, said the competition has changed his life.

“Right now I am feeling very excited and overwhelmed, because this is my first time going on something this big, and it means a lot to me, because it changed my life,” stated James. “Saturday I was at church and I was singing and I cried because we knew what we were going through and what it takes to be the champion.”

Apart from the Principal Byron Grant ensuring the needs and welfare of the students participating in the competition were taken care of, “special arrangements” were also put in place to facilitate students who had to practice every week. In addition, students, teachers, other schools and the wider Hopewell community also gave support to the school.

And, it was an emotional moment for Grant who almost lost his voice, and broke down in tears amid the celebration on Monday, as he spoke to the Observer West.

“I am very, very excited and this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are greater things to come. We are not where we want to be, we are just about 75 per cent of where we want to be and we are going to be there shortly, because we have a strong team of staff working with,” a teary-eyed Grant expressed.

He added that parents and students are happy with and have embraced changes made at the school in recent years which have resulted in a turnaround of the institution's image and outstanding performance in all areas of academic discipline.

In 2013, it was disclosed that the school, which has been doing well in the technical vocational area, was plagued with a raft of challenges.

Three years later, Grant who has been with the institution as a classroom teacher since its inception in September of 2006, started on a mission to turn around the institution while acting as principal. He was appointed principal in January of 2018.

“The first thing I started doing was to throw out the old things and put in new things. Paint the entire school. Ensure the classrooms were conducive to learning and then that started a change in their [students] complete behaviour,” he shared.

Among other changes made were to pay attention to the students' health to include oral health which affects learning. A vibrant welfare programme, including a breakfast for needy students, was also started at the school.

The now well-sought after institution was designed to assist students from western Jamaica who had learning and other challenges, hence the school's focus on not only academics, but skills training.

“The win [All Together Sing] is not only for Hopewell High as a school, but it is for the whole western community. It boosts the morale of the students. Everybody wants to do well. Everybody wants to be a part of this institution,” said Master Teacher Veta Porter Brown.

Hopewell Hill currently has an enrolment of roughly 1,000 students and a teaching staff of 62.



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