Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
NAZARETH ALL-AGE School, for years, has been playing an integral role in the lives of the people of Maidstone, the first free village in Manchester as well as surrounding areas.
The school itself is a 'heritage treasure' after being built shortly after slavery was fully abolished in 1838 for the children of the newly freed slaves and back in the days also doubled as a church on Sundays.
It has evolved over the many years into the present Nazareth All-Age School, which serves communities in and around Maidstone including Adams Valley, Bath, Glen Head, Johns Hall, Shirehampton and as far as Mayfield.
The principal of the school is Ray Chambers who has been at the helm of the institution since the start of the school year last September. It presently has 219 students enrolled with nine teachers and a guidance counsellor.
The school has produced many 'bright sparks' from North West Manchester both in academics, sports and other areas.
As Chambers disclosed, "We have students who have done very well. Two years ago, there was a student who won the Horlicks Scholarship for outstanding performance in the Grade Six Achievement test (GSAT). We have students passing their GSAT for traditional high schools including Manchester High, Bishop Gibson and other traditional schools in the parish. Our Grade Four Literacy Test needs improving though, and we are presently working on that."
Chambers added: "The school has always come out on top in the JTA (Jamaica Teachers' Association) DA (district association) sports where we have been coming out on top in NW (North West) Manchester. We have also done very well in netball and cricket teams."
However, despite the school doing very well over the years, Chambers said there has not been much help coming its way.
"In these deep rural areas, there are not many opportunities other than farming, so there is little money floating around. We don't have a lot of business places in our community, so we don't get help that way."
Chambers said one of the main areas that the school needs help in is to get some computers. "We have a computer room, but no computers. The school won a laptop (computer) recently when we came first in the NW Manchester schools quiz competition organised by Mikael Phillip (member of parliament). We also have a multi-media projector, but more computers would greatly enhance the learning process."
The school's hard court where the netball team trains is also in need of resurfacing. "We have been seeking help from the business community in Mandeville, but nothing concrete so far," Chambers said.
"Meanwhile, we just have to keep on doing our best in providing the best education for our student in the best way we possibly can."