Culture bash! - Beecham Hill Infant and Primary students explore heritage
FLINT RIVER, St Mary:
Last week, in the tranquil district of Flint River, St Mary, around 200 students, parents, and teachers celebrated Jamaica Day at Beecham Hill Infant and Primary School with an innovative exhibition comprising cultural displays, crafts, and performing arts. The school's 'Culture Bash' event explored issues such as heritage and identity and culminated with a concert and fashion show highlighting the African, European, Asian, and Indian elements of Jamaican culture.
During a brief tour of the displays, teacher Annief Ashman told Rural Xpress: "In our antiques section, we have things like a typewriter, enamel cups, and a chamber pot because we're trying to teach the younger generation about the things our foreparents used.
"We want them to understand that although technology has made their lives easier, they should appreciate these things, also.
"Our pastry section has grater cakes, toto, drops, coconut drops, and potato and cornmeal puddings. These things are all extremely important to Jamaican culture and most of them include coconut, which is versatile and can be used in so many different ways. And they are all unprocessed, natural foods, so they are healthy, too."
Local wicker craftsman Barrington Smith added: "I'm here today to showcase my craft, which I've been doing since 1977.
"This type of craft is important because it's the root of Jamaica, from back in the days. I born come see these things, but there aren't many people still doing it, so we're trying to bring it back by showing the young people."
According to acting principal Dawnette Rose, although Beecham Hill functions with limited resources, the school scored above the national average in last year's Grade Six Achievement Test; achieved 100 per cent mastery in numeracy and literacy in 2014; and attracts twice as many pupils as it did a decade ago.
She said: "When I came here 10 years ago, we had 50-something students and now we have doubled that by changing the whole ethos.
"People used to resort to other schools, but we are committed to making Beecham Hill a school of choice.
"Today, we are looking at exposing Jamaica in a global context, so we have displays that help us look back and forward. We are looking at our history and what makes Jamaica what it is today. The students are having a fashion show to depict the various ethnic groups that form the Jamaican culture because, as the motto says, 'Out of many one people'."