Godfrey Stewart High credits breakfast programme for improved performance
Principal of Godfrey Stewart High School, Emily Lawrence Ricketts, credits its breakfast programme for improvements in attitude and grades at the Westmoreland institution. In place since 2013, it is funded by Florida/Bahamas (FLOBAH), an organisation of past students in South Florida and The Bahamas.
Lawrence Ricketts, who has been principal since 2017, told the Jamaica Observer that the programme provides breakfast for approximately 450 students daily. She added that it has worked wonders for the Savanna-la-Mar co-ed school which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.
“The breakfast programme has been a tremendous means of empowerment to our learning process at Godfrey Stewart High School. Breakfast is served from 7:00-7:55 am. The persons who work in our breakfast club are all volunteers. More students come to school early. And while they wait they have to make sure that they spend some time looking over their notes or assignments,” said Lawrence Ricketts.
She noted that since the breakfast programme started, punctuality and attendance of students has improved by more than 40 per cent, there has been less behavioural problems, fewer students are absent from class, there has been a 60 per cent increase in student attendance, and more students get enrolled in colleges.
One of the programme’s beneficiaries is Jamar Grant, a past student and current teacher at Godfrey Stewart High School. He was valedictorian for the faculties of Humanities and Education for the University of the West Indies’ Class of 2023.
Main source of funding for the breakfast programme comes from FLOBAH’s annual dinner and dance. This year’s event, which took place November 11 at Miramar Civic Center in South Florida, was attended by Godfrey Stewart Jr and Genevieve Stewart, children of the school’s founder.
President of FLOBAH, Devon Dobson, told the Observer that his association is pleased with the growth of its main initiative which has a monthly tag of US$1,200.
“The breakfast programme has grown strength to strength. It has helped put the school on the map, in a manner that people are now choosing Godfrey Stewart as their first choice, so it shows we are heading in the right direction,” he said.
Godfrey Stewart started as Senior School in 1963. In 2000, when the Jamaican government upgraded secondary schools to high school status, there was another name change in honour of its founder.
There are just over 1,600 students enrolled at Godfrey Stewart High school.