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Jones commends staff for hard work


Smiling faces and occasional chants kept the atmosphere at the St. George’s Cathedral buzzing for more than three hours last Wednesday as the 2008 graduating class of the St.Vincent Grammar School and their elated parents celebrated their achievements.{{more}}

There was added reason for celebration, as this year marks the 100th anniversary of the school.

Amidst the joy, academic and sporting highlights of the year, Frank Jones, in his Headmaster’s Report, decided not to mask his administration’s challenges with the school’s success.

“Students’ focus and discipline continue to be a challenge. Many of the students reflect the impact of plummeting social morals, values and attitudes. Teaching and management have become more of a challenge than ever before,” said Jones.

While this reality faces his administration, Jones said the leadership remains cognizant that the school must continue to make a difference in the lives of the young men. He used the opportunity to commend his staff for their hard work and support throughout the academic year. The Headmaster further stated that the rapid staff turnover also posed a challenge.

“The essence of our functioning is rooted in our ability to adapt, and change …. So, too, must be our readiness to recognize and capitalize on positives rather than being daunted by this demand,” Jones explained.

According to Jones, even though this academic year was characterized by challenges, change and events, the previous year created a platform for continued success. The 2006-2007 academic year saw 105 students sitting the CXC Examinations with an 87 per cent pass rate. Mathematics had a 71 per cent pass rate which Jones said was the highest throughout St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

On the issue of innovation, Jones explained in an effort to service the students’ diverse aptitudes and to counter the obvious feeling of boredom, several innovations have been put in place. Firstly, the school has subscribed to the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence Examination (CCSLC), a CXC programme that starts in third form. It is used to test students to ensure that they have the basic skills and competencies required for the CSEC Examination. Secondly, the school plans to establish and revitalize several clubs. These include Performing Arts, Heritage, Information Technology, Literary, Modern Languages and Environmental Clubs, among others. A club day is being planned for the new academic year.

Meanwhile, history was created on Wednesday when two students were named as the valedictorians. The coveted title went to Kendall Hinds and Chad Greaves. Other awards such as the Headmaster’s Award were copped by Darren Smith, Nazim Gittens (Most Dedicated Prefect and Performing Arts Award), and Darron John (Most Community Spirited Student). The Best Sporting Performances went to Alan-Dee Balantyne (Athletics), Devane Warner (Cricket), Justin Stapleton (Football) and Shane Huggins, while Leo Leigertwood, received the Edwin D.Layne and Sons Award for Best Business Student.

At the ceremony, a special token was presented to Margaret Leacock, the only female to ever hold the Headmaster’s post at the St.Vincent Grammar School. Her career at the school spanned a period of 31 years; 28 as a teacher and three as Headmaster.