Norman Manley High School, the secondary-level institution named in honour of National Hero and Jamaica’s first and only Premier, the Right Excellent Norman Washington Manley, is celebrating its 50th year of existence.
A yearlong series of activities in recognition of the milestone was launched on September 6 at the institution’s Maxfield Avenue location in Kingston with the release of 50 balloons in the school’s blue and green colours.
Since September, the school has hosted a number of events, including football matches, domino tournaments, and the Mr. and Miss Norman Manley Competition.
The activities will continue into next year with a boat ride to take place in February, a fish fry in May and a 2K walk/run event later in the year.
Principal of Norman Manley High, Adaire Powell-Brown, says that the proceeds from these events and others will go towards the publication of a keepsake 50th-anniversary magazine.
The funds will also be used for the hosting of a 50 Percentage Challenge, which is geared towards motivating students to score higher than 50 per cent in all subject areas.
“We’ll be rewarding the top-50 students in the school in January after the December exams,” Mrs Powell-Brown says.
One of the major anniversary projects of the school is the addition of a sixth-form block, which was officially opened on September 23 with the first 14 students.
“The fact that we are celebrating 50 years, we saw it fit to have the sixth-form programme being a part of that celebration and also to ensure that we, as an institution, are providing valuable service to our nation at large,” Mrs Powell-Brown says.
She says the addition of the sixth form will enable the school to retain high-achieving students in academics, sports and other areas, who can inspire the rest of the student population.
“We are tired of exporting our students who complete fifth form. We export our athletes, our Schools Challenge Quiz members, who go and join the sixth-form teams of other schools and do well, when they started here at Norman Manley High School,” she notes.
The sixth-form students are currently pursuing subjects in Communication Studies, Management of Business, Mathematics, Sociology and Information Technology, and will sit these subjects in the 2020 Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE).
Mrs Powell-Brown says the plan is to expand the programme soon to accommodate more students.
“We hope to double the number next year, but we wanted to start with what we could manage just now,” she adds.
The Principal says that Norman Manley High has a lot to be proud of as it celebrates half a century of operation.
She notes that many students enter Norman Manley at a “developing level”, and so a lot of focus is spent on getting them up to par with their peers in other institutions.
We do a lot of good here. We have a therapy room for disruptive children and the guidance counsellors attend to them there,” she says.
…If we are going to be equipping them to provide any form of quality service to the nation, it is important…that we equip them with the requisite skills that are demanded by society”— Principal of Norman Manley High, Adaire Powell-Brown
Mrs Powell-Brown notes that emphasis is not only placed on academics but vocational studies as well, in order to ensure that each student is equipped with a skill when they graduate.
“We are the first school in the Caribbean to send students for motorcycle repairs at the City & Guilds certification level,” she says, noting that they will sit the examination next year after two years of training.
“It is in keeping with our guiding philosophy, ‘Knowledge for Service’. We believe that if we are going to be equipping them to provide any form of quality service to the nation, it is important for us, as an institution, to ensure that we equip them with the requisite skills that are demanded by society,” she adds.
The Principal says that also for this year “we are placing a lot of emphasis on our core values in the school, so we are educating parents and students about our Mission and Vision statements.
“It is our drive this year to make our students with inappropriate behaviour see the values all around, to live them, to feel them, to breathe them, so that our school can be one of the top schools in Jamaica by 2030, and so we are really pushing for that,” she says.