WITH the resumption of its sixth-form programme this September, Mount Alvernia High School is moving to secure additional classroom spaces for the students.
As a first step to realising that goal, they are to receive three units from Food for the Poor—free of cost except for the foundations which they will have to build.
Principal Theresa Cherian estimates it will cost the institution over a million dollars to get the foundations completed and to secure additional spaces.
“We are going out in faith and we will be seeking sponsorship [to raise the needed capital]. I am also hoping that the past students' association will come on board to assist us,” Cherian said.
Following a 34-year hiatus, the sixth-form programme was restarted last Wednesday with 37 students.
“We did not want to have more than 20 students because we are using temporary quarters to house them. However, the response has been overwhelming and as a result we have 37 students. We do not want to go beyond 40 students until we have a permanent structure,” Cherian said, noting the urgency of having the new building if the programme is to be expanded over time.
The principal said that the sixth-form programme closed in 1978 because qualified teachers were not available.
“This was the period when we had problems finding suitable and qualified teachers and therefore the students were rotating between the three schools — Mount Alvernia, Montego Bay High School and Cornwall College. It was also the era when a lot of our teachers migrated to the United States so we really did not have trained graduates to teach this programme,” Cherian said.
“The Montego Bay Community College concept was introduced with that in mind so that we could pool the human resources in one place. Today, things are different because there are so many persons who are qualified in various subject areas,” she added.