Jamaica College ready to receive boarders
These will be the "best days of your life", promised Michael Bernard at the launch of Jamaica College's new accommodation, the Mayer Matalon Dormitory.
"Any boy who attends our school, and especially those who will board, will be guaranteed to become like any of us old boys," said the school board chairman and 1969 graduate, who added, "JC boys are special, rounded individual."
The school is resuming the boarding of students for the first time in 50 years, bringing it to its original form - the 227 year-old institution started out with borders before accepting day students. He called on aspiring boys to step forward and sign up, as students would be provided a bed, locker and access to the study area, and boys from similar year groups will be placed together.
Boarding fees will range from $120,000 per term ($40,000 per month) for local residents and US$7,500 per year for overseas students, with US$2,500 payable two weeks before the start of each term. The fees cover accommodation, all meals and organised homework, study and some Caribbean Examination Council classes.
Celebrating Jamaica College's "major academic transformations" over the last decade, which saw the entire school go through a "make-over" focusing on "business and management", chairman of the Jamaica College Foundation, R. Danny Williams told The Gleaner: "We set up a foundation to raise the needed funds. When we first analysed it, we thought $200 million, however, it was much more. I cannot completely tell how much we actually raised, but the response for help was phenomenal; it's in excess of half a billion. Overall funding was provided through 40 donors, including the Scotia Foundation, the Matalon family, Butch Hendrickson, and countless old boys."
Williams said the boarding facility was opened for three main reasons.
"First, we have countless old boys all over Jamaica and around the world who want to send their children to JC so they, too, can experience the education their fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers had. We have boys who could only enrol if the school could accommodate their living, and now we can; and athletes who need to train early and late can stay and live on campus. These were the driving factors for the new dorm."
Describing the perfect border, acting principal of Jamaica College, Wayne Robinson, said, "Jamaica College wants to produce a graduate who exemplifies all that is in the school's prayer.
"Build us up in body, mind and spirit, until we come to the full stature of the perfect man. And although we know there is no such thing as perfection, we will strive to get as close to perfection as possible.
"This is why we built the dormitory. To ensure and reproduce a student in an environment which we have control over, who will not only impact the school body but also the rest of the world."
Robinson added, "Boarding is a financial challenge. It's no joke, but we are going to ensure the value compensates from all other issues. The Mayer Matalon Dormitory is going to be a prototype of what boarding schools should be."
The new two-storey building will house three dormitory areas for up to 72 boys.
Representing a major sponsor, President and CEO of Scotiabank Jacqueline Sharpe, said: "The new dorms are a fantastic opportunity for the young men who will be living on the campus, especially because of the environment, to learn. I would like all potential boarders to have fun, make friends and establish relationships, which will take you in to your bright future. Dream big!"