Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
STEER TOWN, St Ann:
STEER TOWN Academy, one of two schools of excellence on the island, had its first open day on Wednesday with impressive displays in art and craft, home management, creative arts, and other areas.
Several companies partnered with the school to make the day a success for its students and staff. These included Bryan's Book Store, Sangster's Book Stores, St Ann Parish Library and Runaway Bay HEART Academy.
In declaring the day open, Maxine Headlam, director for Region Three, Ministry of Education, hailed the school for its discipline, and challenged the students to choose to do the right things.
"Whatever you get out of the school is as a result of the choices that you make. Talent, by itself, does not make you great; it is what you do to improve on the talent that you came in with. So I want to challenge you, you have to make that choice that this is what you want," Headlam said.
In touring and viewing the displays, she praised the students for their "very impressive" work.
Interim principal Sonia Nevins described the first nine months of the institution as being challenging but positive.
Making their mark
"We've had our fair share of challenges but we have seen great improvement in the children's performance, academic and otherwise," said Nivens.
She mentioned the achievement of D'Mitri Settalsingh, who she said became the first person to bring glory to the school by being chosen deputy junior mayor for St Ann.
The school has also done well in Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's festival competitions, capturing three gold, two silver and two bronze medals, along with trophy for most popular dance group in St Ann, in its first year.
"I'm very happy with what is happening here, the teachers have worked extremely hard with the students. We didn't really get them at the level we were expecting but we have moved them. This year's crop, which is coming in, is however much better," Nevins said.
While the turnout of parents was disappointing, the high quality of the displays and the concert put on by students made the day worthwhile.