Rural Express:Thompson Town High opens resource centre
Shanique Samuels, Gleaner Writer
'Yesterday's Dream, Today's Reality.'
The Calvin T. Walters Resource Centre is indeed a reality for the Thompson Town High School in Clarendon. The grand opening of the building was not without the usual fanfare and parading of the school's uniformed groups and the official cutting of the ribbons. Last Friday, November 21, will go down as one of the most memorable days in the history of the school. The opening ceremony ended with a tour of the two-floor facility led by the Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites; Calvin Walters (past principal); UWI Senior Lecturer Dr Orville Taylor; Member of Parliament, Richard Azan, the councillor and caretaker for the area, and other specially invited guests.
The ground floor of the resource centre consists of the library and computer lab/resource room, which is soon to be furnished with the computers promised by the education minister. The second floor houses two classroom blocks for the sixth form students.
Principal Richard Morgan remarked, "It was the dream of Walters and the others before him to have a sixth form in the school. But, for years, the dream eluded them, yet they continued to work hard to make it the reality it is today."
He continued, "As a school, we have tried hard; we have worked to the best of our ability with the limited resources that we have to make a positive impact on the lives of our students." He noted that there have been several requests from past students for "the newly upgraded high school" to have a sixth form of its own. Morgan said that many of Thompson Town High School's past students could not matriculate to tertiary institutions because they did not have the requisite 'A'Level subjects to get there. "It was difficult for our students to get into other sixth forms because of the competitiveness of the students, and many schools usually give their students priority, and so the idea of a sixth form of our own came about."
"We started out by housing the sixth formers in the principal's cottage, which was unoccupied at the time. Some classes were even held under a tree in the schoolyard for some time, but the vision was there to have suitable accommodation for our students," stated the principal as he looked toward the brand-new building. Notwithstanding the conditions the students and teachers endured, he proudly announced that their 'first try' at CAPE, the school raked in a 67 per cent pass rate in all the subject areas.
Education Minister Ronnie Thwaites, in his message, encouraged the students to make good use of the facilities and to do their best to get a solid education. "Education is the only means by which you are going to improve your life. Style and fashion will not carry you students anywhere. It's the strength of your character and the quality of your education that will. What is in your head is going to stay with you and in your character for life."
Senior Lecturer at the UWI Dr Orville Taylor also encouraged the students to make use of the opportunities being presented to them because in times gone by such opportunities were very scarce as they were only offered to the rich and light-skinned. "There is a lot of space in schools for children to achieve, so do not skylark, learn the proper techniques and ensure you pass your subjects because education is the key. It is education that makes young people who look like me have far more opportunities than there were back then. You need to respect your school and take advantage of these opportunities because you can make it. You are far better than I was at your age, so focus on what you are doing. Thompson Town, I believe in you, so unno better believe inna unno self!" said the vibrant lecturer as he ended his presentation.