Petersfield High celebrates its 50th… a year laterThursday, April 01, 2021
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland - With celebrations to mark the school's 50th anniversary derailed last year because of COVID-19, the virtual activities rolled out this year have taken on added significance.
The secondary school was founded on September 14, 1970 but celebrating was impossible last year as the pandemic raged. This year, organisers moved most of their activities online. One of the events streamed live was the symbolic release of 50 balloons on the school grounds to launch their celebrations. The goal, events coordinator Keisha Chaplin told the Jamaica Observer, is to celebrate the school's existence while paying tribute to each person who had the privilege of being a part of the school's history over the years.
“We have tried to adjust [to the delay caused by the pandemic], and we hope to incorporate additional activities between now and the end of the school year to celebrate our members,” she said.
“We have principal's week coming up in the week of April 19. Our current principal, Roan Green, will have principal's hour on that Monday and throughout the rest of the week we will have greetings from past principals that have been with us between 1970 to now. Then we will have Administrative Professional's Day, which is what we always call Secretary's Day, this will include all [of] the administrative staff and we will honour them on that day to show our appreciation,” she told Observer West.
Then on April 26 the school will, for the first time ever, celebrate Ancillary's Day to pay homage to their hard-working colleagues.
“We always have secretary, nurses and teacher's day, but we don't usually have an Ancillary Day. [We will] honour and show appreciation to the ancillary workers who are normally not recognised on a particular day,” Chaplin said.
The year of celebrations began with Spiritual Emphasis Week on March 7-12. This is an internationally celebrated week of Christ-centred activities. It was geared towards the 1,800 students currently registered at the school.
“It is an annual event, but we decided to incorporate our [anniversary] celebrations into it. We had a visiting pastor each morning. The first day of the activities started with a church service that was streamed, and the link was sent to the students and other members of the school,” Chaplin said.
“On Monday through Friday, we had the pastors conduct devotional exercises to build the spiritual life of the students; that was our main aim. We also had them pray for the institution, especially at a time like this when everyone is going through one issue or another [related to] the pandemic,” Chaplin told Observer West.
To end the year of celebrations, Chaplin explained that the institution intends to host a special virtual school-leaving ceremony, which will be geared towards the grade 11 and 13 students.
“Plans are still in place for that, we have not fine-tuned much of the plans where valedictory service is concerned, but we hope that we will be able to incorporate aspects of the 50th anniversary in that little ceremony so that the students will go out knowing that they were a part of the school's 50th year celebrations,” she said.
While some students have fallen behind academically due to the pandemic, the high school is committed to reaching them all as they believe no child should be left behind.
“Our student population has been fluctuating because of the pandemic. We try to send out printed materials to the ones who are not on the online platform. But we find that a lot of persons have [still] fallen behind along the way, so we are really trying to see what we can do to get them back on track. It is an ongoing process but nevertheless we are continuing to try,” said Chaplin.
— Rochelle Clayton
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login