Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Foga Road High pushing more than academics

Published:Tuesday | January 2, 2018 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston
The winning ‘Ackee Wine’.
Denworth Finnikin (right), director of HEART Trust/ National Training Agency and Kerinth Campbell (left), principal of Foga Road High School, congratulate Renee Wright on receiving a Gold Award for ‘Bartender/Traditional Punch’.

Kerinth Campbell, principal of Foga Road High School in Clarendon, has more than one reason to be proud of her school, and is looking, with great anticipation, toward 2018. In spite of many challenges, the school has been chalking up one success after another.

Fifth-former Renee Wright entered the 2017 staging of a two-day expo organised by the Culinary Federation of Jamaica (CFJ) and Taste of Jamaica in association with World Skills Jamaica. This competition featured among its many categories one that was entitled 'Bartending: 'Traditional Punch'. Renee was the lone high-school student among the 12 competitors, some of who were expert bartenders in the hotel industry and hospitality institution. she emerged as the surprising gold medal awardee. The winning concoction, 'Supa Ackee Punch' blew away the taste buds of judges and spectators.

Principal Campbell, revelling in the school's victory, told Rural Xpress that the institution has been offering Food and Nutrition at the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) level since 2011, with the average pass rate usually being 90 per cent. This year, she is hoping that student achievement numbers will be even higher.

"We (since 2015) recently introduced Food and Drink Service at the Caribbean Vocational Qualification (CVQ) level, administered under the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC). Candidates in this programme are required to exhibit their competencies in attaining specific occupational standards in the specific subject field," she shared.

The Ministry of Education partners with HEART Trust/NTA and the CXC governing bodies to offer this Level One CVQ certification programme to students in secondary schools. Assessments in this subject span the areas of observation, role play, simulation, interviews, written assessments, and practical exercises. The principal points to "the critical importance of the development and production of portfolios that help to provide the evidence of students' growth, experience, and grasp of the content to be mastered."

Reflecting on Wright's victory, Campbell said she is not surprised and had no doubt the student would do well as she has always encouraged students to "go with a positive mindset" in anything they do, and to make themselves, and ultimately their school, proud.

Acknowledging that the school is faced with challenges, the Foga High principal said that the administration is slowly but surely eliminating them.




"There is the challenge of acquiring additional tools and equipment to fully meet the ideal student number needs. Classes tend to be large," Campbell disclosed. "For example, for the food and drink service, we need to acquire at least one bar blender, additional stoves, and other small utensils. On a bigger scale, physically we could do with another area to set up another foods laboratory. We do our best, however, utilising efficiently the resources that already have been provided or put in place," said a determined Campbell.

For all the challenges, there is no taking away Campbell's pride in the home economics skills areas (foods, food and drink service, management, and clothing and textiles).

"The complement of staff members in these areas has been developing, unearthing, and honing students' skills and abilities. Quite a number of our past students are currently furthering their studies in these and other related areas," the principal related. "For example, there are past students who are now completing their training at Cardiff Hall/Runaway Bay Academy, and at other locations," she proudly stated.

Wright's trophy is not the first for Foga Road High in the culinary department, as two years ago they were the Culinary Parish Champions in the Annual Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Competition, walking away with a number of trophies and medals.

Campbell said that the school's success is powered by its vision: 'Empowered to Excel'.

"I personally use every opportunity to bring this to life, not only for students, but for those staff members who are willing to take a bold step. I deliberately look for opportunities in which students can showcase their talents, and with the support of willing staff members, train and push the students in the various areas," she informed Rural Xpress. The principal added that the school is not just about academics and the passing of examinations, but rather about presenting opportunities to grow students' skills, talents, leadership potential, and self-esteem, presentation skills, collaboration, exposure, and experience in the wider community.