Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
Educating with a difference
WHITE RIVER, St Ann:
NORTHGATE HIGH School, a church-based institution, opened its doors officially on Sunday evening in White River, St Ann, with a pledge to produce students not just academically excellent but strong on moral values and principles.
The school, which had orientation last week, began officially on Monday with 15 students in a new building sitting on a hill overlooking the roadway that leads to Exchange, in the parish.
Chairman of the school, Pastor Wesley Boynes, also chair of the Northgate Youth and Family Development Foundation, thanked members of that organisation who he said adopted and supported the school with their time, energy, commitment and resources.
Boynes described the opening as historic in the educational landscape of Jamaica, saying it is a very unique response to the challenges, which face not only the educational sector in Jamaica, but the social and national landscape as a whole.
According to Boynes, academic achievements do not in any way, equal preparation for life, but rather, prepares people to qualify for a job.
He said Northgate High School would be different.
Boynes said Northgate has designed a system, called the Character Development Programme, which will ensure that the boys will not only achieve academic excellence, but grow up to be strong men, dependable and wise leaders and loving and tender husbands and fathers.
"We do not want to be numbered among institutions that produce people who are very efficient in their professional skills, but once they exit their offices at the end of the day, they become dysfunctional in the other areas of their lives, because of the absence of internal building and development," Boynes pointed out.
"The educational process at this school will occur within the context of a strong emphasis on moral values and principles. Students must be very clear about their moral codes and the implications which face them if they ignore to conduct their lives accordingly," he added.
Director of Region Six, Ministry of Education, Maxine Headlam, committed to providing the necessary technical assistance to ensure that the school becomes a success.
In commending the Northgate Family Church on the move, Headlam said the church in Jamaica must revisit its former role as vanguards of education.
Headlam challenged the school to become what it aspires to be.
Meanwhile, director of the institution's sister school, Northgate College in Trinidad, Yolande La Pierre, said the new school is more than a place of certification.
"It is a place for growth and development. We want our students to be whole students," La Pierre stated.