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Total transformation - Tarrant High School undergoes complete rebranding

Published:Wednesday | September 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Students of Tarrant High School, St Andrew in their new uniform.

THE TRANSFORMATION cannot go unnoticed at Tarrant High School in St Andrew.

Students are no longer wearing black and white uniforms but are now donning their blue and yellow tunic. This is also accompanied by a total transformation in the mindset of students and environment.

Esther Tyson, outgoing interim principal of the institution, who took over the reins in 2013, said it took hard work and a collaborative effort to change the culture at the institution.

"I started a focus group trying to find out what it is that students wanted, and the number one thing that they disliked was the uniform. Students were saying that they were associated with graveyards and funerals, which made them uncomfortable," she said.

"Students were fighting over chairs because we did not have enough chairs. The school needed painting because we had mould all over, there were leakages at various areas at the school and you would be surprised to know how much these things dampen their spirits," Tyson told The Gleaner.

That's when the board decided to start the rebranding process.

"We started with redesigning the uniform, which the students in the clothing department did, also the boys in the welding department were the ones who fixed the chairs. They also have their armbands, and it's a whole rebranding that is taking place," she continued.

change in the mindset

Tyson also said a change in the mindset and emotional development was also an integral part of the rebranding process.

"Most of the students are from poor areas, so cheese trix and bag juice is breakfast for some, which cannot be nutritious. We had problems with lateness and we had to work overtime to change their head space and to see how best we could cater to their needs," Tyson said.

"Every morning I play worship music to get the students settled. I would pray for them in the afternoons, and in the evenings we play the national anthem just to give them a sense of pride, and it has been working. We believe that spirituality helps a lot in keeping their morals intact and building their personal development," Tyson said.

"There is not only a change with the students, but this has spilled over in the community. The community is much more involved and violence has lessened," she said.

New principal of the institution Collette Feurtado Pryce pointed out that personal development of students along with parenting workshops will be priority issues on her agenda.

"We cannot over-emphasise the importance of a stable family setting. It's very integral. We need to deal with the issue of parenting in Jamaica where children are taught basic skills, because the fact is some of them are still not ready at this stage," Pryce told The Gleaner.