Wed | Nov 13, 2019

Mona Prep celebrates 55th in style

Published:Monday | October 14, 2019 | 12:31 AM
Above: The Mona Prep Trio in performance. At left: The Mona Prep Dancers.
Above: The Mona Prep Trio in performance. At left: The Mona Prep Dancers.

There was laughter and intrigue at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at The University of the West Indies, Mona campus, last week as Mona Preparatory School celebrated its 55th anniversary.

Parents, staff, and past students turned out to celebrate the occasion at Mona’s 55th Anniversary Gala, which was filled with fine performances from the school’s own students and capped off with the play Behind the Pulpit, written by Mona Prep drama teacher Brian Johnson.

Samara Smith, who attended the school back in the 1990s, hailed it for what she described as its “marvellous successes over the years”. She said that Mona Prep was not only academics-focused but also gets involved in sports and the art.

“It’s a few generations of us that have passed through Mona Prep, and anything that the school is doing, I am always excited about it and want to be involved. Honestly, we don’t pay our prep and primary schools as much attention as we do high schools, and we forget that’s where most of us started out, so we have to begin to show support,” Smith, who has a niece at the Old Hope Road-located institution, told The Gleaner.

“Trust me, 55 years of proving the best education to Jamaicans is no easy thing to do, and it takes dedication and commitment, so we have to celebrate these things,” Smith asserted.

Mona Preparatory School, formed under the auspices of the United Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, opened its doors on September 22, 1964.

After the cocktails, which saw much chatter and mingling outside the centre, the celebrants went inside for the show, which included performances from the Mona Prep Trio, Mona Prep Dancers, and Mona Prep Speech Choir before the play got under way.

Petrina Williams and Samantha Thompson are the two actresses in the piece, and they play Bishop Patricia Nobles and Sister Imogene Grant, respectively. The two actors are Johnson and Miguel ‘DJ Rebirth’ Campbell, who, respectively, play Troy Nobles, the bishop’s husband, and Brother Mark, a church member.

Proceeds from the play will go towards the school’s development activities.

After the show, The Gleaner caught up with three others associated with Mona Prep and asked them to share what they thought were the best moments in the school’s 55-year history.

My Mona top moments

“When Mona Prep won [TVJ] Junior Schools’ Challenge Quiz ... that was marvellous, and I will never forget that. I jumped for joy and I actually felt like I was playing.” – Janet Robinson

“Just to see how the students turn out. Year after year, the school turns out some really good students and it is because of good leadership and good support all-round why it has remained so over the years.” – Sharon Myrie

“GSAT was always that moment for me because all three of my kids have gone to Mona. Well, one is in grade six now and, I tell you, when it comes on to GSAT and the preparation and then the exam, it’s an experience. But at the end of the day, you look back and you just have to be grateful to the teachers who are there with the kids, even when you are at work and you are just so busy that your mind is not even on them.” – Carlton Simpson